When Can You Contest a Will in Louisiana?

When Can You Contest a Will in Louisiana?Contesting a will means approaching the court, stating that the will is inaccurate or invalid for some reason, and asking the court to intervene. The goal of a will is to avoid just that. As a result, it is not common to contest a will in Louisiana unless you have solid, justifiable reasons to do so.

When there are complications, inaccuracies, missing information, or other aspects of a will that are not accurate, you do have the right to make your voice heard, and our wills attorney in New Orleans is the ideal professional to speak to you about it. At The Law Office of James A. Graham, we navigate estate and succession law with confidence, thanks to our experience. We can help you no matter what you are expecting.

Louisiana will contesting laws

Louisiana law makes it clear that, with proper notary, it is possible for a person to make final decisions about themselves, their assets, and their heirs in a legally binding will. It also has provisions for challenging this will in some situations.

If there is reason to believe the will is invalid, you have five years from the date the will was put into the probate court to take action against it. That is quite a length of time, but you absolutely should not wait to take this action. Doing so delays access to those funds or decisions and may erode your assets, preventing you from receiving what you deserve.

Common reasons to contest a will in Louisiana

There are several common viable reasons to contest a will in Louisiana. Grounds for contesting a will include any of the following:

  • Undue influence: You must demonstrate that the testator, or the person creating the will, was facing some type of influence to make decisions in the will that were not their intent.
  • Lack of capacity: You must show that the testator was not capable of understanding the nature of and the consequences of the decisions they were making at the time of completing the will.
  • Formalities in the execution of the will were not followed: In this claim, you may show that there were no witnesses or a notary to ensure that the will was signed and created properly or that no one witnessed the testator making declarations prior to signing every page of the will and then again at the end.
  • Fraud: Demonstrate in this situation that the testator was lied to or otherwise duped into signing the will.
  • Mistake: Demonstrate that the testator signed the will as a mistake, in that the will was not created properly.
  • Revoked: There is some reason to believe that the testator wanted to resolve or eliminate the will and did so by destroying it or otherwise revoking it.
  • Forged: Prove that the person who signed the will was not, in fact, the testator and that the document is a forgery.
  • Improper form: Under Louisiana law, one of two forms must be completed to make the will valid.

If any of these situations apply in your case, we encourage you to work with our legal team immediately to take action to contest the will.

What to do if you suspect the will is invalid

It is not uncommon for family members to be surprised by the details of a will. There are other situations where you may believe that the will is forged or otherwise inaccurate, but you are not sure. When this happens, we encourage you to reach out to our succession attorneys in New Orleans as your first step. Doing so allows our attorneys to help you gather evidence to support your claims, a critical process to ensuring that the proper legal steps are taken.

Our attorneys will help you with:

  • Verifying your claim that the will is invalid by gathering evidence to support this
  • Providing you with insight into the legal options you have depending on the current state of the estate
  • Offering guidance on how to hold those accountable who took advantage of the decedent

There are often situations where emotions and family disagreements will result from the decisions and information contained within a will. However, if you believe there is any legal reason to contest the will from the examples provided here, we highly encourage you to contact our New Orleans legal team immediately for guidance and support. Let us help you ensure your family members’ wishes remain intact.

How a will is contested in Louisiana

If you believe you can prove that any of the above grounds are accurate and that the will is invalid, then you have the right to file a claim as such with the court. You can file an objection to the secession petition (which is a component of the process). This is done directly with the court handling the succession matter.

The petition must include key information, including your name and address, the grounds for the opposition, your interest in filing the opposition, and details on what occurred. You must also provide a prayer for relief, which outlines what you want the court to do to resolve this matter.

Once all objections to the will are received, the court will then schedule a trial to hear the information and to consider all evidence in the matter. Ultimately, the court will rule on the matter and provide a clear decision on what happens next. This process of going to trial can be overwhelming, but our estate litigation attorneys in New Orleans have the means and experience to help you through it.

Contact The Law Office of James A. Graham to discuss your will matter with our experienced professionals. With years of helping people navigate the challenges of succession litigation, wills, and estate planning, we are confident we can help you through this legal matter as well. Set up a consultation to discuss contesting a will in Louisiana by calling our office or submitting our contact form. Even if you are not sure, we encourage you to learn more about your rights now.