Do You Expect a Legal Battle Over a Loved One’s Will?

What is your recourse if you were wrongly left out of a loved one’s will? Or if your inheritance was less than you expected? Or if you believe the will was invalid for some other reason? In Nevada, your first step is discussing your rights and options with a Las Vegas probate attorney.

Who has the legal standing to challenge a last will and testament in this state? What does it take to challenge a will, and what does it take to prevail with that challenge? What is the deadline for filing a challenge to a will?

Before you contest a loved one’s last will and testament in the State of Nevada, you should arrange to meet with a Las Vegas probate lawyer who will:

  1.  explain your legal rights and options
  2.  discuss how the law applies in your own case
  3.  provide you with specific, personalized legal advice

Who May Contest a Will in Nevada?

Only “interested persons” may challenge a last will and testament in Nevada, and interested persons must have a sufficient legal reason for bringing a challenge. An interested person is defined as a party who may be materially affected if the current will is enforced.

Interested persons include anyone who would be an heir under Nevada’s intestate laws (if the decedent had died without a will), such as a spouse and children, as well as “devisees” under a prior will (anyone who was being given real estate), and parties named in the current will.

Under the law in Nevada, interested persons may also include creditors and even government agencies that are legally entitled to compensation for benefits paid to the decedent (or “testator”) during that person’s lifetime.

For What Reasons May a Will Be Challenged?

If you meet this state’s definition of an interested person, you still must have a legally adequate reason for contesting someone’s last will and testament. The most common reasons for challenging a person’s will include:

Someone used undue influence on the testator to receive a larger inheritance.
The testator was not mentally competent to prepare or sign the will.
The will was not legally valid. It was improperly witnessed, fraudulent, or forged.
The will is not complete, or a more recent will has been discovered.

What Are the Deadlines for Challenging a Will?

When you choose to contest a will in this state, be ready to provide any documentation you may need. You should have multiple copies of the testator’s death certificate, for example, and your Las Vegas probate attorney will tell you what other documents may be required.

Probate is mandatory in Nevada for estates valued at over $20,000 and for all estates that include real property. Interested persons may contest a will by filing a petition with the probate court at any time before the probate process begins. A notice that you are challenging the will must then be served to the heirs of the testator and other interested parties.

Those parties have thirty days to file a motion objecting to your petition. If the court grants such a motion, you will have ten days to file a revised petition, unless the court extends that deadline. A Las Vegas probate lawyer will explain the process and handle the paperwork on your behalf.

Can You Challenge a Will After Probate?

The probate process in Nevada usually requires from six to eighteen months, depending on the size and complexity of the estate. After probate, the deadline for filing a challenge to a will is three months from the date that the probate process concludes (unless a later will turns up).

When a will has a no-contest clause, anyone who challenges the will could end up receiving nothing or receiving a drastically reduced share of the estate. No-contest clauses usually disinherit anyone who challenges a will.

However, in the State of Nevada, if a beneficiary acts in good faith and has plausible evidence that the will may not be valid, that beneficiary’s inheritance will not be affected.

What Are the Potential Outcomes of Contesting a Will?

If you contest a loved one’s last will and testament, and if a Nevada probate court finds in your favor and determines that the will is not valid, the court has several options:

If the testator previously had another will, the court may invalidate the current will and reinstate the former one.

If the testator did not previously have a will, the court may distribute the estate’s assets according to Nevada’s intestate succession laws.

Finally, a probate court could decide that only some parts of the current will are not valid.

What Else Should You Know About Challenging a Will?

Before you choose to challenge a will, consider the others in your family. Will your challenge provoke acrimony and contention among family members? Make sure that you understand the potential long-term consequences of taking legal action.

A good probate lawyer can review your claim and advise you about the best way to proceed. Your claim may be strong, or you may need more evidence and documentation for the probate court. If the claim is weak and unlikely to prevail, a good lawyer will be candid with you.

If you were wrongly left out of a will, your inheritance wasn’t what you expected, or your loved one’s will was invalid for some other reason, any challenge to that will must be handled by a Nevada lawyer whose practice focuses on wills, estate planning, and probate matters.

Meet Attorney Rebecca A. Fuller

If you contest someone’s last will and testament in this state, attorney Rebecca A. Fuller will protect your rights, explain each step of the process, and advocate effectively on your behalf. She is an award-winning Nevada probate lawyer with over seventeen years of probate experience.

At Fuller Law Practice, attorney Rebecca A. Fuller has established a reputation for superlative client service and professional excellence in the Las Vegas legal community. She handles probate cases and provides comprehensive estate planning services to clients throughout Nevada. If you’ve worked hard, saved wisely, and you have not prepared an estate plan, now is the time.

To learn more about contesting a will, or if you are ready to begin the legal process, contact the Las Vegas offices of Fuller Law Practice at 702-935-4144. Our legal team will review your claim, give you candid advice from the start, and if necessary, fight for justice on your behalf.