How Do I Contest a Will in North Dakota?
In addition, you need to understand the impact a no-contest clause will have on a Will contest if the Will in question includes one. A no contest clause is a clause a Testator adds to a Last Will and Testament that effectively disinherits anyone who challenges the Will.
Consider Hiring an AttorneyContesting a Last Will and Testament is a complicated task that typically involves complex legal and financial concepts. A skilled probate attorney who understands those legal and financial concepts would be best suited to assist you if you decide to pursue a Will contest.
The Probate Process Is InitiatedShortly after a death, the probate process begins. If a Will is located, the Will is submitted, along with a petition to open probate, to the appropriate probate court. The probate process serves several functions, including authenticating the decedent’s Will. If someone believes the Will is not valid, therefore, a Will contest may be initiated.
Make Sure You Are Eligible to Contest the WillIn the State of North Dakota, a Will contest can only be filed by an “interested person.” An “interested person” usually refers to a legal heir of the estate (such as a spouse or children), a beneficiary under the current Will or a previous Will, or a creditor of the estate.
Choose Your Grounds for Contesting the WillNorth Dakota recognizes the following grounds on which you can invalidate a Will:
• Lack of testamentary capacity – this alleges that the Testator (your father in this case) lacked the requisite mental capacity at the time the Will was created.
• Fraud – this can refer to a situation wherein the Testator was tricked into signing the Will or where fraud was used to deceive the Testator regarding the terms of the Will
• Undue influence – if someone exerted too much influence, or negative influence, over your father during the creation of his Will it may be grounds for invalidating the Will.
• Improper execution – every state, including North Dakota, has rules for how a Will must be signed. For example, if the Will must be signed in front of witnesses, and it wasn’t, that can be grounds for
• Revocation or subsequent Will -- if the Testator (your father) subsequently revoked the Will submitted for probate it makes the Will submitted for probate invalid.
Make Sure You Meet Additional RequirementsNorth Dakota allows a Testator to execute a self-authenticating affidavit that can be attached to your Will that ensures the court that a Testator did, indeed, execute the Will. If the Testator executed one of these affidavits, you may not be able to contest the Will. In addition, you need to understand the impact a no-contest clause will have on a Will contest if the Will in question includes one. A no contest clause is a clause a Testator adds to a Last Will and Testament that effectively disinherits anyone who challenges the Will.