My mother had always said that she’ll be leaving her home, jewelry, and an automobile to me. She passed away a few weeks back leaving everything in my elder sister's name. Can I contest the will or declare it invalid?

Full Question:

My mother was always fond of me, and had repeatedly mentioned, even in the presence of a few of our relatives, that she’ll be leaving her home, jewelry, and an automobile to me. My elder sister always had difference of opinions with our mother, and was not even visiting her for a few years. I was staying near my mother’s home, and ran errands for her. A few months back I had to relocate to a distant place due to a job change. My elder sister turned up, and started staying with our mother. Now, our mother’s will have left my sister the home, jewelry, and the automobile. Can I contest the will or declare it invalid?
11/09/2016   |   Category: Wills and Es... » Will Contests   |   State: ALL   |   #26473

Answer:

The first step to challenge a will is to have standing to contest the will. A person who is named on the face of the will, the beneficiary, has standing to contest the will. Similarly, a person who may inherit or lose if the will is declared invalid can also challenge the will.
 
The courts consider wills as the voice of the testator, and it is generally very difficult to contest a will. The common grounds to challenge a will are improper execution, lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud, and a later will outdating the prior will.
 
If the will is not signed as mandated by the state law, it can be challenged for improper execution. If your mother, the testator, did not have the capacity to understand the extent and value of the property, or to identify the beneficiaries under the will, the person challenging may raise testamentary incapacity as a ground to challenge the will. Also, if you could establish that someone else had exercised undue influence on your mother, or made her sign the will without her knowledge, the will may be declared invalid. Additionally, a will may be declared invalid if you can prove that the testator had executed another will, revoking the contested one.
 
However, it must be remembered that contesting a will and declaring it invalid is not an easy task, and will incur considerable expenses.