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Attorneys for Will Contests in North Carolina
After someone’s death, the terms of their will dictate how the distribution of their property should occur. In most cases, the will accurately represents the decedent’s (testator’s) wishes, even if some heirs feel that their inheritance doesn’t meet their expectations—or that they have been omitted altogether.
In some cases, a will might fail to express its maker’s wishes, causing potential beneficiaries or heirs to believe that the decedent wanted to leave them an inheritance of a higher value.
In these instances, any person with an interest in the estate can challenge the validity of the will through a so-called caveat proceeding in the NC Courts. This interested party, or caveator, can be either a beneficiary whose name appears in the will or an unnamed intestate heir.
At Brady Cobin Law Group in Raleigh, NC, we assist clients with will contests and other estate planning matters.
The Requirements for Contesting a Will in North Carolina
Under North Carolina law, a caveator has the standing to contest a will under the following requirements:
- Statute of limitations: The caveator has three years from the will’s probation in the common form to contest the will. An extension of this period might be available if the caveator is in prison, incompetent, or under 18.
- Notice: The caveator must notify all parties with interest in the estate about the caveat proceeding.
- Bond: The probate court may require the caveator to post a bond.
Grounds for Challenging a Will in North Carolina
During a caveat proceeding, the party claiming that the will is invalid, the caveator, must carry the burden of proof by a greater weight of evidence that the will is not a legally enforceable document that can be admitted to probate.
The grounds for will contests in North Carolina include:
- A lack of testamentary capacity: A testator has the testamentary capacity to execute a will if they are older than 18. At the time of executing the will, the testator should also have had the mental ability to understand the extent of their property and the dispositions of their will.
- Undue influence: A will is invalid if a third-party wrongfully takes advantage of a confidential relationship with a vulnerable testator, pressuring them into executing a will that does not reflect their wishes.
- Fraud: Wilfully deceiving a testator into executing a will that does not represent their wishes constitutes fraud, and the will is invalid.
- Revocation: Evidence might exist that the testator revoked the will in question, rendering it invalid.
Will Contests: Consult with a Reputable North Carolina Estate Lawyer
Contesting the validity of a will requires extensive knowledge of probate law and the North Carolina court system. At Brady Cobin Law Group in Raleigh, NC, we can help you explore your legal options, gather evidence of a will’s invalidity if you are contesting it, and represent your case during the caveat proceeding. Contact us today at (919) 782-3500 to schedule an initial consultation.
We had an a wonderful experience with Andrew and Elizabeth! We had wills from out of state that needed to be updated in order to be compliant with NC law. We chose Brady Cobin Law firm due to Andrew’s affiliation with the military.
Compared to our experience in NJ, Andrew provide a lot more explanation to all of the documents, answered all questions, and truly understand our ultimate goal.
I was highly impressed with all of the documents that were created in addition to supplemental documents that would help with estate planning. If completed, it would really help the heirs/executors in the decision making.
Finally, while we were finalizing some of the work related to estate planning, Andrew was very responsive when I had additional questions.
I highly recommend Brady Cobin!!! You can’t go wrong!