Home → Probate → Do you have the right to contest a family member’s will?

Even though it may not be the first thought that runs through the minds of Tennessee residents when a family member dies, their thoughts may turn to the possibility of an inheritance at some point. It can be disappointing to find out that they did not receive anything in the will. Some of them may want to contest the will believing that they should have received something, but not everyone will have the right to contest it.

The law considers direct descendants such as children and grandchildren as “heirs-at-law,” which means that if the deceased individual did not have a will, these individuals could receive a share of the estate under Tennessee’s intestate laws. If one of them was not named in the will, he or she would have legal standing to contest the will. However, an individual in this position would also need to show that a legal reason to dispute the validity of the will exists.

The other group of people who may have legal standing to contest a will are heirs or beneficiaries who knew they were included in a prior will, but are not in the current one at all or would receive a lesser share under the new document. Of course, he or she would have to prove to the court that being left out of the will was not intentional or the document is invalid for some legal reason.

Once an individual determines whether he or she has the legal right to contest a will, the attention then turns to having a legal reason do so. The answer to this question is not always an easy one. In order to ensure that this would be the right course of action, it would be beneficial to discuss the circumstances with an experienced attorney.