Will contests in Connecticut Probate Court usually involve the one or more of the following:
1. Lack of testamentary capacity. Did the decedent understand what property was being disposed and who was to receive the property? The argument here is that the decedent was not of sound mind and memory when he/she executed the will.
2. Undue influence. Was the decedent under duress when the will was signed or somehow coerced? In other words, the will was not signed voluntarily so that that it was not a “free act and deed.”
3. Lack of formalities in the execution of the will. Connecticut requires that the will be in writing, subscribed by the testator (person making the will) and attested to by two witnesses in the testator’s presence. Were these formalities followed? If not, the will is void.
4. The will was revoked by a later will. Are there multiple wills? If so, the most recent will controls.
In addition to contesting wills, family members may also challenge the Inventory (list of assets) filed with the Probate Court. This may be appropriate if there is evidence that not all assets have been disclosed.
It is important to consider the alternative if the will is not valid. If there is no will then there is a schedule the Probate Court follows in distributing property. Consider what you might receive if the will contest is successful (and therefore the will is invalid). For example, if there are certain relatives alive and the will is invalid you may do worse by challenging the will.
Contesting Wills in Connecticut
I represent clients in estate administration matters and in Probate Courts though out Fairfield County including those who reside in Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Trumbull, Stratford, Bridgeport, Westport, Weston, New Canaan, Wilton, Norwalk, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich.