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What does it mean to have standing?

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2022 | Probate & Estate Planning

Sometimes, a loved one of a deceased person finds that the deceased left a will with which the loved one disagrees. Whether that is because the will outright discludes the loved one when they belived they had a right to inclusion, or because the will was a result of undue influence, the loved one might want to take action against the will.

In many cases it is possible to contest a will.  However, a person must have standing in order to do so and cause to prove a will invalid.

What is standing?

In terms of a will, a person has standing if they face financial or personal effects due to the terms of the will itself.

Who has it?

More specifically, this can include fiduciaries or beneficiaries of a previous will. In essence, if someone was recently cut out of the document, or had their share of estate reduced by a significant portion, they can contest the will. This holds true regardless of the reason for the cut or reduction.

However, these individuals must still prove a reason to consider the will invalid.

Disinherited heirs-at-law may also have standing. These are individuals closely related to the decedent who would have inherited a portion of the estate if it were not for the will.

These individuals must also have cause; proving that the will is invalid in some way, such as through manipulation like undue influence or through the decedent not having proper mental standing to write a will.

If a person has standing and cause, then it may be possible to contest a will.

A probate attorney will be able to help analyze questions of standing and cause, and contest a will if appropriate.