Individuals often seek the comfort that a comprehensive estate plan provides. The ability to prevent heated family disputes by carefully making plans centered on the distribution of assets, wealth and responsibility through wills, trusts and powers of attorney is crucial to gaining true peace of mind. Unfortunately, the probate process can invite disagreements between heirs, surviving loved ones and the executor of the estate.
In Indiana, a will must be written by an individual who is of sound mind. The document must not only be signed by the individual who creates it (often called a maker or testator), but also by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries in the will. An important part of the probate process is verifying the validity of the will. The will can be made self-proving by including an acknowledgement of the will by the testator and the verification of the witnesses. This self-proving certificate contains the legal requirements for a valid will. With a self-proving certificate, the probate process does not need to include locating the witnesses and securing their testimony. The removal of this step could save expense and avoid unnecessary delays.
In general, the validity of a will might be challenged based on:
- Lack of testamentary capacity
- Changes made based on undue influence
- The will is fraudulent
Losing a loved one can be a challenging time including both emotional and financial turmoil. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, however, you can proceed through the estate administration process avoiding any unnecessary complications. Additionally, if estate litigation becomes necessary, the insight and representation of a skilled lawyer is crucial.