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3 Essential Things to Understand Before You Contest a Will in Ohio

September 6, 2017 by Greg Port, J.D., M.B.A.


Image-Color-Last-Will-Testament.jpgWhile you have the right to contest a will in the state of Ohio, there are rules and processes for probate court you must follow. For those who feel they need to contest a will in Ohio, they should first meet with an experienced probate attorney to ensure they meet the requirements of filing a will contest.

Understanding a few things about how will contest and probate court in Ohio work can help you succeed in doing it. Ohio recognizes two grounds for overturning a will: one whether the testator had testamentary capacity and two whether the testator was under undue influence in making his will.

1. Understand ‘Testamentary Capacity’

Testamentary capacity exists when the testator has sufficient mind to: (1) understand the nature of the business in which he is engaged; (2) comprehend generally the nature and extent of the property which constitutes his estate; (3) hold in his mind the names and identity of those who have natural claims on his bounty; and (4) appreciate his relation to the members of his family.

Where it can be established that the testator lacked the ability to understand one of these four elements, a court may rule that the testator did not have testamentary capacity, and declare the will void.

Undue Influence

Another option for contesting a will is proving undue influence. In Ohio, undue influence is when the testator is manipulated by someone else with the selfish intentions of taking the possessions for themselves.

The state of Ohio requires four factors to be true for the courts to uphold a decision of undue influence:

Icon-Check-Mark.pngThe testator was vulnerable to influence

Icon-Check-Mark.pngImproper influence was attempted

Icon-Check-Mark.pngThe outcome shows the effect of influence

Icon-Check-Mark.pngThe person exerting influence had the opportunity to do it

Where it can be proven that a beneficiary used undue influence as described above to gain gifts in a will, a court can declare that beneficiary ineligible to benefit.

2. Know How Probate Court Works

Before you attempt to contest a will, you should first understand how probate court works. To contest a will in the state of Ohio you must file a complaint with the Probate Court. After the will has been admitted into court, an administrator or the executor will be appointed, and all the beneficiaries and kin receive a notice from the administrator.

Next, the administrator with the proof of notice must file a certificate with the court. This must occur within two months. After that, the certificate gets filed with the court within three months.

It is extremely important to be aware of these time frames, otherwise, the right to contest the will is forever lost.

What can you expect from probate? Download our free guide.

3. Get the Best Legal Representation

If you believe your loved one was a victim of undue influence or lacked testamentary capacity and would like to contest a will in the state of Ohio, you should consider getting the best legal representation possible.

Port Legal boasts of more than 30 years experience in probate law, and they understand what it takes to challenge a will.

We will fight for you in the court of law to make sure you receive a favorable ruling. If you feel you weren't given a fair chance when the testator wrote a will, and you'd like to contest it, contact us today for a free consultation.

We will look over the specifics of your case, and we will see if there's anything we can do to help you with your case.

Our consultations are completely free of charge and intended to equip you to make the best decision.


Topics: Wills, Last Will & Testament, Ohio Probate, Ohio Probate Lawyer

Greg Port, J.D., M.B.A.

Written by Greg Port, J.D., M.B.A.

Port Legal founding attorney, Gregory Port has over 30 years experience. He has provided strategic corporate law representation in Central Ohio to clients since 1990. Gregory Port is a lawyer actively practicing in the areas of probate, estate planning, and real estate. His experience and core values are the cornerstones of Port Legal as a specialized advocate for your interests.