If one of your close relatives has passed away leaving a last will and testament, you may be entitled to receive notice that the will has been submitted to probate for administration. You may discover that the will leaves you less money or property than you believe is fair or that it has omitted you entirely. That means you have a decision to make about whether to contest the validity of the will in whole or in part. At that point, you should consult with an attorney about how to pursue your rights in probate court.
To contest a will, it is not enough to simply state that the will is unfair to you. You need to provide evidence that the will was not properly executed and/or that it does not accurately reflect the decedent’s true intentions. Connecticut law allows will contests on these grounds:
Failure to meet statutory requirements — In Connecticut, a will must be written, signed by a testator (the person making the will) who is 18 years of age or older and signed in the presence of two disinterested witnesses who are not immediate family members.
Lack of mental capacity — A person must be of sound mind to create a valid will. If the testator was of diminished mental capacity due to physical or mental illness, the will’s validity can be challenged.
Undue influence — This means the testator was taken advantage of or improperly influenced by someone they were particularly dependent on, either due to illness, advanced age or a frail condition. Evidence of undue influence can include suspicious bequests of property made with no explanation. Caretakers or relatives who control the testator’s living situation or finances are often in position to exert undue influence.
Fraud — A will may have been created or updated because the testator was tricked or deceived by someone they trusted.
You may find that the will contains a “no contest” clause, stating that a beneficiary who contests the will forfeits their right to inherit under its provisions. While Connecticut law recognizes that such clauses can be valid, they are disfavored and courts usually go to great lengths to avoid forfeitures. A beneficiary can still challenge the will “in good faith, upon probable cause, and with reasonable justification.”
If you wish to challenge a will, whether it has a no contest clause or not, you’ll want to retain an experienced probate litigation attorney who can analyze your situation and determine your best course of action. The lawyer can file a formal objection to the will, represent you at hearings and negotiations and, if necessary, serve as your counsel at trial.
At Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. our Hamden and East Haven attorneys have deep experience in Connecticut will contests. We will work to protect your legal rights and to see that you receive your fair share of your loved one’s estate. Call 203-745-0942 or contact us online to arrange a confidential consultation with an attorney.
Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. is located in Hamden, CT and serves clients in and around North Haven, Hamden, Waterbury, Bethany, Milford, Wallingford, Prospect, Woodbridge, Northford, Madison, Beacon Falls, Branford, Cheshire, North Branford, East Haven, Naugatuck, Meriden, Ansonia and New Haven County.
Attorney Advertising. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at
this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client
[ Site Map ]