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Can You Contest a Will if the Estate Is Divided Unevenly?

Can You Contest a Will if the Estate Is Divided Unevenly?People draft wills to ensure that their estates are divided the way they wish. A will also informs their family members about who will get what when it comes to their assets and belongings. When there are several children or grandchildren involved, it typically takes a lot of thought and careful consideration when creating this will – and sometimes, that means an unequal division of assets. In some cases, however, you may be able to contest a will that divides an estate unequally or unfairly between beneficiaries.

Why would a family member leave behind unequal assets?

Family members often assume that everyone will receive an equal amount of assets. When they find out that this isn’t the case, it may catch them by surprise. However, this is not an unusual scenario. Many people leave behind wills that divide their estate unevenly because:

  • The parent or grandparent may have helped one child less than the others: Some people need more financial assistance than others. If one child (or grandchild) has needed more assistance, the will may designate a greater portion of the assets to that child or grandchild. The opposite may also be true: if one child or grandchild has received less assistance or money over the years (for whatever reason), a person may leave that particular child more money in the will.
  • One child may have agreed to run or take over the family business: A child or grandchild who is named a successor for a family business may be granted a greater share of the estate simply because the business makes up a greater share of the estate.
  • One child may have taken on the role of being a caregiver: When the parent or grandparent became sick or elderly and needed more one-on-one assistance, one child may have stepped in to help. As a result, the parent or grandparent may leave them more assets as a way of showing their appreciation.
  • Not all beneficiaries inspire the same feelings: The truth is that in some families, there may truly be a “favorite” child or grandchild, and this person inherits more. In some cases, there may be a child or grandchild who has been purposely cut out of the will.

Keep in mind that most wills do not give reasons for why a family member or loved one left behind unequal assets. Therefore, if your deceased family member did not inform you of their reasonings before they passed away, you may never know the exact reason why.

How a Chattanooga probate ligation lawyer can help you contest an uneven will

After you have gathered your thoughts, if you are ready to contest the will, you should consult with a Chattanooga probate litigation lawyer. Your lawyer will sit down and listen to the facts and circumstances of your case, explain whether the assets are actually equal and fair, provide legal advice, and determine a possible solution to help you obtain the outcome you desire. If you are thinking about contesting the will, you must have specific grounds for doing so, which include:

  • The will is old and outdated, and you know for a fact that a new one exists.
  • It is a new will, but it was never signed.
  • You believe the will being used is fake or has been changed.
  • Your loved one was physically or mentally incapable of making clear decisions in the will.
  • The will was not signed by two witnesses.
  • There are arrangements in the will that are difficult to interpret or have multiple meanings.
  • You believe that your family member was tricked, forced, manipulated, or bribed into creating the will and assigning the assets.

If you decide to contest the will, you will be required to prove any of the grounds mentioned above. We can help.

Are you thinking about challenging a will that you believe is uneven or unfair? If so, the Chattanooga probate litigation lawyers at Wagner Workers Compensation & Personal Injury Lawyers are here to help. We will look over the legal document and decide whether you have potential grounds to file a lawsuit in probate court. Although contesting a will can be very difficult and challenging, you can increase your chances of success by hiring one of our attorneys. Please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your no-cost consultation today. We represent clients in Chattanooga, Cleveland, and throughout Tennessee, and will work endlessly to guide you in the proper direction regarding your case.