Will Contests and the Considerations for Conflict

Challenging the validity of a will, also known as a will contest, is a significant decision that can provoke intense emotions and have far-reaching consequences. This article aims to provide an objective perspective on this potentially contentious issue. We’ll explore what will contests involve and delve into the factors that might help you determine whether it’s worth the fight.

Understanding Will Contests

A will contest is a formal objection raised against the validity of a will, typically based on the assertion that the document does not reflect the actual intent of the deceased. Grounds for contesting a will may include undue influence, fraud, lack of testamentary capacity, or improper execution. It’s important to understand that the process is not about whether the will is fair, but whether it’s legally valid.

The Tangible Costs of a Will Contest

One of the primary factors to consider when deciding whether to contest a will is the financial cost. Will contests can be lengthy and complicated, often requiring the assistance of an attorney. Legal fees can quickly escalate, and these costs may be borne by the person contesting the will, especially if the contest is unsuccessful.

The Emotional Toll of a Will Contest

Apart from financial costs, the emotional toll of a will contest is another crucial consideration. Will contests can lead to heightened tensions and long-lasting rifts within families. The process can be stressful and emotionally draining, and the negative impact on relationships can be significant.

Possible Outcomes of a Will Contest

The potential outcomes of a will contest are another essential factor to weigh. If the will contest is successful, the court may invalidate the entire will or specific portions of it. Alternatively, the court might uphold the will, and the assets would be distributed as originally outlined. It’s also possible that the parties might reach a settlement before the conclusion of the trial. However, keep in mind that a successful contest does not necessarily mean a more favorable distribution for the contestant.

Considerations Before Contesting a Will

Before choosing to contest a will, consider seeking legal advice to understand the strength of your case. An experienced probate attorney can help you evaluate the validity of your claims, the potential costs and benefits, and the likelihood of success. It’s also wise to consider other options, such as mediation, which may provide a less contentious and more cost-effective solution.


Deciding whether a will contest is worth the fight involves careful consideration of numerous factors, including the strength of your claim, the potential financial and emotional costs, and the possible outcomes. It’s crucial to remember that every situation is unique, and what might be the right decision for one person may not be the same for another. While will contests can sometimes be unavoidable, they should never be entered into lightly. In these complex situations, professional legal advice can provide clarity, helping to ensure that your decision is well-informed and aligns with your best interests.