When a loved one passes on, you may be surprised or dissatisfied with the wishes listed in the wills and trusts. Just because someone does not approve of the decedent’s estate plan does not mean that they can contest it.

There are many reasons that someone can contest a will. No matter the reason, not everyone can contest a will. When only certain people can contest a will, who has the eligibility to fight for the proper result in an estate plan?

The right to contest a will

There are laws in place that specify who has the right to contest a will. These probate laws grant this right only to “interested persons.” An interested person is someone that is directly connected to the outcome of a will. There are several ways that an interested person can connect themselves to the result of a will, including:

  • They were the beneficiary of a previous will
  • They were intestate heirs
  • They were beneficiaries of a will that is more recent than the will being used

Commonly, an interested person is usually a sibling, spouse, child, or parent. There are exceptions, however. If a family friend or even a distant person qualified with the above method, they can still contest a will. There is a limited window someone can contest a will, typically within 12 months, so you must not wait to confirm if you can contest a will.

Act fast to secure final wishes

If you believe you should contest a will, consult with an attorney immediately. The longer you wait to begin your consultation, the harder it can be to contest a will successfully. Only interested persons can contest a will, but if you believe that you are one of those people, you have the right to fight for a fair outcome.