What are the Issues that Can Invalidate a Will?

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Tuesday February 21st, 2023.

Drafting a will is not an easy task. There are many mistakes that can invalidate your will. Since a will acts as your last message towards your family, it is essential to ensure that it is written carefully, leaving no room for confusion. Listed below are some common mistakes people may make while writing their will.

A Holographic Will

Some states consider a holographic will valid, but most do not. It is a handwritten will without any witnesses. You can create this will if it is acceptable in your state, but make sure to research first. Florida neither recognizes nor permits holographic wills.

Having Previous Wills

You may change your will multiple times during your life because of changing circumstances. But make sure that you destroy every copy of your previous will whenever you draft a new one. Having previous wills can cause many troubles for your family.

Insufficient Testamentary Capacity

Testamentary capacity means the mental capability of the testator to create a will. Most states have a competency test that must be passed to be eligible to write a will. It includes understanding your relatives, the property you own, your selected beneficiaries, and what the will says and means. 

Having mental impairments, e.g., dementia or any other disorder, can invalidate the will. If it is suggested that you do not have enough testamentary capacity, make sure that you and your attorney have proper proof of your mental health, including reports and tests.

Fraud or Undue Influence

If the will is created through undue influence or fraud, the court immediately invalidates it. Common fraud situations include getting a fake will signed by the testator without their knowledge or a nonfamily member forcing the testator to make them a part of the inheritance.

Not Following State Laws

Many states have different requirements and languages to create a will. You must abide by all the guidelines to make sure that it is not invalidated. Following the law is an essential part of writing your will. The mandatory information in a will usually includes a statement from the testator, a list of all the heirs, and the personal representative.

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Family Law on Wednesday February 15th, 2023.

Visitation rights can include different ways the grandparents may be restricted from visiting their children. It can be due to divorce or separation between their parents. It can also include restriction orders in the child’s best interest.

Grandparent’s Visitation Laws

Almost every state offers grandparents the right to request visitation rights from the court to maintain a good relationship with their grandchildren. State laws vary depending upon the circumstances under which permission is required.

In many states, grandparents are restricted from meeting their grandchildren and require a court order for visitation. This is usually when the parents are separating or divorcing, or one or both parents have died.

In other states, spearing parents have a right to restrict grandparents from visiting their children. Such restriction can only be done for the children’s best interest. But most states allow the grandparents to request visitation regardless of the separation or death of the parents.

Application Process for Visitation

Grandparents apply for visitation rights to the court. The application can be considered based on the nature of the application of contact, the relationship between the child and the grandparent, and the safety of the children. The court ensures that the grandparents must not be potentially harmful to the kids.

If one or both parents raise an objection regarding the grandparent’s request for visitation, a proper hearing will be conducted to resolve the matter. Both parties provide evidence during the hearing as to why or why not the grandparents should be in contact with the children.

It is essential for the grandparents to have professional legal assistance to convince the court that they have a good and healthy relationship with their grandchildren and should be granted the right to visit them.

The court considers all the aspects of the situation when it comes to granting permission. They must ensure that the relationship between parents and their children is not affected if the grandparents have visitation rights. The overall well-being of the child is the priority of the court. Most of the time, if the visitation request is denied, it is under extreme circumstances.