Contesting a Will


When you hear about wills being contested, you may initially think of famous families involved in legal battles over the validity of a will. However, there are various reasons why a will may be challenged, and not all of them involve family disputes.

Contesting a will may be necessary if you suspect that it is invalid for some reason. Here are some situations where challenging a will may apply:

  • You think that the person who wrote the will was not of sound mind. (A will must be created by someone with the mental capacity to make important decisions and understand their impact.)
  • You believe that another person unduly influenced the will writer. If someone with power over the writer, such as a caregiver or family member, pressured or manipulated them to write the will, it may be considered undue influence or coercion, making the will invalid.
  • You are not sure whether the document in question was intended to be a will. If there is any doubt that the document is the writer’s will, it can be contested and potentially disregarded.
  • The will is incomplete or missing signatures or witnesses. For a will to be legally valid, it must be signed by the writer and witnessed by two individuals who are not named in the document. A will that is missing essential information or signatures could be considered invalid.
  • You suspect that the will is fraudulent or forged.

The people who have a right to contest a will are known as “interested parties.” They typically include individuals who have a potential stake in the estate, such as those who are named as beneficiaries in the will. Anyone who may have been included in a previous version of the will but was left out of the most recent one may also have the right to challenge a will.

Potential heirs who could receive assets under intestacy laws, such as immediate family members like a spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, and other extended family members, may also have the right to challenge a will.

If you are considering contesting a will, it is a complicated process, and you should consider consulting with an estate attorney who can guide you through the process. Once you decide to move forward, you will need to file a claim with the probate court in the county where the will writer died. From there, you will need to present your case to the court and provide evidence to support your claim.

It is important to keep in mind that the time to contest a will, known as the statute of limitations, varies by state and can range from 30 days to several months from the date the will was filed. If the will contains a no-contest clause, you will be disinherited if your challenge fails, so it is crucial to proceed with caution.

In Connecticut, within 30 days of passing, an executor, creditor, or beneficiary of the decedent must file a petition in probate court. A person challenging the will of the decedent generally has 150 days to file a petition. They must prove significant grounds for the petition.

Contesting a will can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive. It does not always succeed. However, it may be your best chance to recover property owed to you, other than negotiating with the estate or other beneficiaries. If you do succeed, you will receive control of the assets you claimed belonged to you.  It is important to work with an attorney who is experienced in Estate and Probate law when deciding to contest a will.

Do you have questions?

Count on your experienced team at Ericson, Scalise & Mangan, PC to provide you with sound guidance for your Estate Planning, Elder Law, Real Estate, Probate, Trust & Estate Administration, and other legal needs. For assistance, contact us today at (860) 229-0369, or email us at 

an image of a will