Following the death of a loved one, a person may wonder who can contest a will and what the process looks like. It may help to learn the ins and outs of wills in Indiana according to state law and who is legally eligible to contest a will in the event of a controversy.
What is the purpose of a will?
Under state law, a will is intended to disperse the assets of the deceased according to his or her wishes as expressed in a legally binding document composed during life. In the absence of a clearly written will that can inform the orderly dispersal of assets, disputes may arise between “interested parties.”
Any interested party can contest a will
“Interested party” is a category in probate litigation that includes “all of the decedent’s family members” as well as “all parties who are listed under the current last will and testament.” These parties are legally eligible to dispute a will in court. In the case that there is more than one will, any individuals listed in previous wills but not in the final will may also join in any civil dispute. For example, if a party stood to receive an inheritance in an earlier will but was later disinherited, they may decide to dispute the later will.
What happens if there is no will?
In the event that there is no written will, the state of Indiana is tasked with divvying up the assets left by the deceased under local laws, not necessarily based on the wishes of the deceased. This underscores the importance of proper estate planning.