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Wills aren't as permanent or ironclad as they may seem

A will is a very important part of your estate plan. Many people may think that the will is the only document that relates to your estate plan -- some may even think the will is the estate plan. But your estate plan is actually a collection of documents, assets and contracts, of which the will is an important factor.

These misconceptions about the will actually lead to another myth: that the will is almighty and all-powerful. Once it is put together and signed, that's it. What it says, goes. Though this is the usually the case, there are certain circumstances in which a will is actually quite fallible and open to a legal challenge. Let's examine a few of these situations.

  • Testamentary capacity: If you challenge a will on these grounds, it means you are saying that the testator lacked the mental capacity to understand the ramifications of his or her will. In other words, they suffered from dementia, insanity or senility -- or they may have even been too young to understand what they were signing or agreeing to.
  • Fraud and undue influence: This means that the will was created under fraudulent circumstances, or there was an outside party who put pressure on the testator to sign or create the will.
  • Inadequacies of the will: The will may not be compliant with state laws, or it may not be reasonable in scope, given the laws to which the will adheres. There could also be a second will that exists, potentially trumping the original will.

Source: FindLaw, "Reasons to Challenge a Will," Accessed Aug. 26, 2015

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