Every adult in Ohio should have a will. When a person passes away, their will largely controls what happens to their property and assets. Without a will, surviving family members can be stuck trying to work out a complicated, unclear situation. At the same time, probate disputes can arise even if there is a will. You have the right to challenge the validity of a will in Ohio.
This raises an important question: What do you have to do to contest a will in Ohio? The short answer is that you need to file a well-supported civil lawsuit in the proper probate court. In this article, The Law Office of John C. Grundy has an estate planning attorney in Northeast Ohio who can provide a more detailed overview of the steps to contest a will in Ohio.
Contesting a Will in Ohio: Know the Steps
1. Know the Grounds Upon Which You are Challenging the Will
You cannot successfully contest a will simply because you are not happy with what it says. In order to challenge a will in Ohio, you need legitimate grounds. In other words, you must have a reason why the will should not be accepted or enforced by the court. Some of the most common grounds to contest a will in Ohio include:
- Multiple wills.
- Lack of capacity.
- Undue influence.
- Procedural errors.
2. Gather Relevant Evidence and Information
As you are preparing to move forward with your will challenge, it is crucial that you gather all of the documents, records, information, and other evidence that you need to build a strong case. In Ohio, the person contesting a will has the burden of proving that it should not be accepted by the court. It is crucial that you are able to put together a well-supported, persuasive case.
3. File a Civil Lawsuit in the Proper Probate Court
In Ohio, will contests are heard by the probate court in which the will was submitted. To challenge a will, you need to file a civil lawsuit. That lawsuit should be filed in the proper probate court. An experienced Northeast Ohio probate & estate administration lawyer can help you file the proper paperwork to challenge a will.
4. Take Action Before the Statute of Limitations Expires
A will contest is a highly time-sensitive matter. You must act before the statute of limitations runs out, otherwise, you will likely miss your opportunity to assert your rights. Under Ohio law (Ohio Revised Code § 2107.76), a person who wants to challenge or dispute the validity of a will generally must do so within three months of the date it is submitted to the probate court.
Get Help From an Estate Planning Attorney in Northeast Ohio
At The Law Office of John C. Grundy, our Ohio estate planning lawyer is a committed, solutions-oriented advocate for clients. If you have any specific questions about the steps that you need to take to contest a will in Ohio, we can help. Call us now or connect with us online for a confidential initial consultation. We provide representation in will contests throughout Northeast Ohio, including in Cortland, Youngstown, Fowler, Champion Heights, Orwell, and Boardman.