People in Oregon sometimes choose to challenge a will that has been submitted to court for probate. Challenging a will can be difficult, as courts generally strictly follow their provisions as representing the wishes of the deceased testator. There are certain situations which may arise that can overcome the court’s presumption of a will’s validity.
Interested parties to a will may challenge either the entire will or a portion of it. There are three separate grounds under which a person may challenge the will. A challenge can be made if either the entire will or a provision within it is invalid. Challenges may also be asserted based on a later will having been written by the decedent in place of the one that was admitted to court. Finally, a challenge may be asserted if the decedent made a promise to either write a will or to revoke one, or to not write a will and/or not revoke one or to die intestate.
The party who is proceeding by challenging the effectiveness of the will in whole or in part initiates the will contest by filing a petition with the probate court. When the challenge is based on the decedent’s promise, affected parties may file a completely separate civil action apart from the probate proceeding.
Will contests involve statutory deadlines just like all civil disputes do. Failing to file an action or petition within the statutory time frame serves to permanently prevent the filing of an action. Since the burden of proof is also rather high in order to overcome the court’s presumption of a will’s validity, people who wish to challenge a will may benefit from seeking the advice of an attorney who may be able to help by helping gather evidence and filing necessary motions with the court.
Source: OregonLaws.org, “113.075 Contest of will“, November 11, 2014