Untangling the Complexities of Will Contests in Massachusetts

When it comes to dealing with wills and probate issues, the team at Casey Lundregan Burns, P.C., is no stranger to the myriad of complexities that arise. In the state of Massachusetts, a will may be contested under several circumstances, which range from concerns about the mental fitness of the testator, to allegations of fraud or the suspicion of undue influence. These procedures are far from simple, and having a thorough understanding of the law becomes crucial.


Grounds to Contest a Will

There are several valid justifications that can lead individuals to contest a will. These include concerns about the testator’s mental capacity at the time of creating the will, suspicions of fraud, or instances where a newer will is discovered. At other times, undue influence over the person who has drafted the will may also be a reason. At Casey Lundregan Burns, P.C., we support and guide you through understanding the specific grounds on which a will can be contested in Massachusetts. Below we highlight several examples:

  1. Mental Incapacity: Was the testator mentally sound while drafting the will? Conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s could be pertinent.
  2. Fraud: Was the testator deceived into signing the will? Misrepresentation of the will’s content can be a cause for concern.
  3. More Recent Will: Has a newer will been discovered? A newer document typically nullifies an older will.
  4. Undue Influence: Was the testator unduly influenced or coerced? Excessive benefits to the influencer could signify manipulation.
  5. Non-compliance with Formal Requirements: Did the will meet all formal requirements of the state, such as the presence of witnesses at signing?

Our goal at Casey Lundregan Burns, P.C., is to support you in understanding and pursuing these grounds to simplify the intricate process of contesting a will.


The Legal Process of a Will Contest

Commencing a will contest in Massachusetts is an complex legal procedure that calls for timely and precise actions. The process begins by lodging a formal objection, known as a ‘caveat,’ with the probate court in the county where the decedent lived at the time of their death. This action must be performed within a specified time frame following the notice of the will’s probate, which is the legal validation of the will. The importance of adhering to these timelines cannot be overstressed as any deviation might result in losing the legal right to contest the will.

Once the caveat is in place, the probate process is halted until the court resolves the contest. During this period, the estate cannot be distributed according to the instructions of the contested will. This multifaceted process, replete with specific legal terms, deadlines, and protocols, underscores the necessity for seasoned legal guidance. That is where our team at Casey Lundregan Burns, P.C., steps in. We help demystify these complexities, ensure you remain on top of all crucial deadlines, and provide the support you need to pursue your will contest with confidence.


Your Partner in Navigating Will Contests: Casey Lundregan Burns, P.C.

Conducting a will contest involves more than just initiating the process; it includes intricate steps that unfold as the case progresses, such as the discovery phase for evidence gathering, the pre-trial stage for resolution attempts or case preparations, and if required, presenting the case at a trial. Each phase brings its own challenges, and having a steadfast legal ally is indispensable. 

At Casey Lundregan Burns, P.C., we leverage our collective experience of over 80 years to navigate the labyrinth of will contest intricacies. We are not just your legal counsel, we are your partners who will walk alongside you every step of the way, ensuring you are well-informed and prepared. More importantly, we understand that concluding a will contest can be emotionally draining and legally complex, with several potential endpoints including settlement agreements, mediation, or court trials. Our team assists you in evaluating these options and determining the course of action that best aligns with your interests. To understand more about how we can support you, schedule your case evaluation online or contact us at (978) 878-3519. Together, we will confront these challenges head-on.