How to Contest a Will in Illinois

A will is one of the most important documents used in an estate plan, allowing the testator to leave property to whomever they intend, name an executor of their estate, name a guardian for minor children, and more. And while wills can be used to mitigate tensions between family members regarding distribution of property and payment of debts after a testator’s death, wills can also be divisive. Indeed, parties may even dispute the validity of a will.

If you believe that a will is invalid and if you would be adversely affected by the execution of the willyou may contest the will. Here’s what you need to know–

Contesting a Will in Illinois

If you believe that you have a valid reason to contest a will in Illinois, Illinois Probate Act Chapter 5, Section 8-1 affords you six months from the date of the will’s admission into probate court to take action by filing a petition.

Not only must the will be contested within the six-month time period, but the person who is filing the petition must have legal standing to do so. In order to have legal standing to contest a will in Illinois, you must have a direct financial interest in the will, and, should the will be accepted by the court, this decision would be detrimental to your interest.

Grounds for Declaring a Will Invalid

Assuming that you have legal standing to contest a will and you bring forth your petition within the required time frame, the next step is being able to prove that the will is invalid based on one of the following grounds:

  • Fraud – There are various claims that can be made to argue that the will is fraudulent, including that any witnesses to the will’s execution weren’t trustworthy, that alterations to the will were made after it was signed by the testator, or that the will wasn’t signed by the testator.
  • Lack of capacity – Another reason that a will may be declared invalid is in the event that the testator lacked the capacity to enter into a will/was not “of sound mind” at the time the will was entered into.
  • Undue influence – If a person was pressured into creating a will or including a stipulation of the will that they would not have included on their own, was made to sign under duress, or otherwise was unable to exercise free will in the creation of the will, the will may be declared invalid.
  • Underage at the time of signing – A person must be 18 years of age to create a will in Illinois. If the will was created by the testator when the testator was 17 years of age or younger, it is invalid.

Seek Help from a Skilled Libertyville Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer

The requirements for contesting a will are rigorous, and attempting the process without the counsel of an experienced lawyer is not recommended. At the law offices of Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC, our experienced estate planning and probate lawyers can guide you through the process, and represent your interests if you believe that a will is invalid. Please call us today for a consultation, or send us a message directly using the intake form on our website.



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Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC

Phone Number: (847) 549-0600
Fax Number: (847) 589-2263

Libertyville Office
350 N. Milwaukee Ave., Ste. 202
Libertyville, IL 60048

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223 N. IL. Rt. 21, Ste. 14
Gurnee, Illinois 60031