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Who Can Challenge a Will?


Your will can only be challenged by an “interested person” for a valid legal reason. While the specific definition of “interested person” varies from state to state it generally includes the following categories. Three categories of “interested persons”: (1) beneficiaries in any previous will, (2) beneficiaries of a subsequent will, and (3) your intestate heirs (those individuals that would inherit if you die without a will).

Beneficiaries of a previous will or a subsequent will have standing to challenge a will. A testator can make any person or organization a beneficiary of their will and therefore beneficiaries do not have to be related to the decedent.

The heirs of the decedent also have standing to challenge a will because if the decedent did not have a valid will they would receive a portion of the decedent’s estate. Heirs are those individuals who would inherit under the state intestacy laws if the decedent did not have a valid will. The decedent’s heirs usually include spouses, children, parents, siblings, and grandparents. Note that minors do not have standing to challenge a will on their own behalf. For this reason, most states permit a challenger to initiate a lawsuit for a period of time after the minor reaches the age of majority. At FreeLawyer.com, our online free will forms make it easy for you to create your last will and testament, naming your beneficiaries.