When you find that a loved one left behind multiple wills, typically the most recent will negates the others. The probate court, however, must still validate any such will to enforce its provisions.
At this time, legal challenges regarding the will’s authenticity can arise from any legal heirs of the deceased as well as anyone named in any of the wills in question. This can lead to legal conflict during probate that may require litigation to resolve.
I Found More Than One Will – What Do I Do?
If you discovered that a loved one had more than one will at death, it’s a good idea to contact a probate attorney for assistance. Having the benefit of professional legal assistance as early as possible during this process can help you avoid unnecessary setbacks, complications, and conflicts with other interested parties.
Take note of when each will was drafted and signed. The most recent version is likely the one the court will accept, but keep in mind that there are a few reasons why this might not always be the case.
Validating a Loved One’s Will in Probate Court
Before the executor named in your loved one’s will can deal with their estate’s affairs, the will must be validated in court. “Probate” is actually derived from the Latin word meaning “to prove,” which refers to this part of the process.
A valid last will and testament in Oklahoma meets the following requirements:
- The testator was at least 18 years old when the will was written
- The testator was of sound mind
- The will is dated
- The will is signed by the testator
- The will is signed by two witnesses, each signing in the testator’s presence
Concerns about a will’s validity are some of the most common reasons for probate litigation, and they often arise when an interested party believes a will is fraudulent or the product of undue influence on the testator. It’s important for the court to validate wills because doing so can preclude or cease legal claims alleging fraud or undue influence, thus allowing probate to proceed.
What to Do When You Believe There’s a Fraudulent Will
Unfortunately, fraudulent wills can end up involved in the probate process. When they do, they can complicate matters and require litigation to resolve.
Here are a few warning signs that a will may be fraudulent:
- The will only exists as a digital document
- The will is not properly witnessed or notarized
- The will overwhelmingly favors a specific individual, especially if they are not a family member
- The will doesn’t appear to reflect the intentions or values of the testator
- The testator’s signature doesn’t look right
- There are concerns that the testator may have been unduly influenced or threatened into drafting and/or signing the will
Dealing with a fraudulent will can be very difficult for you and your loved ones, especially when someone comes forward alleging that such a will should replace the only one you believe is valid.
In this situation, the best thing to do is immediately contact a probate attorney for help.
Contact Bundren Law Firm Now
If you need an attorney to help you with the probate process and/or represent you in any probate litigation matter, reach out to Bundren Law Firm P.C. Attorney Mary Bundren is a skilled probate lawyer with decades of experience she can apply to help you with your legal situation.
Learn more about our services and what Bundren Law Firm P.C. can do for you by contacting us today!