In this article, our Chicago will contest attorneys discuss who has standing to contest a will as well as the process of contention and the statute of limitations behind filing a will contest.Will contests are claims against a will due to undue influence, mental incompetence, fraud or another impropriety. When a will is contested, the filing party is essentially asking for probate court to step in and invalidate the will.The deadline in Illinois to file a petition to contest the validity of a will is six months from the date that the will was admitted to probate. There are two exceptions to this rule:
- A subsequent will may be admitted to probate after the six month deadline for will contests has passed. This is not technically a will contest, although the subsequent will will likely invalidate the prior will.
- A claim for intentional interference with expectancy of inheritance may be filed after the six month time period. This is a civil suit that is distinct from a will contest.
Any “interested person,” as defined by the Illinois Probate Act, may file a petition to contest a will. The Illinois Probate Act defines an “interested person” as an heir, legatee, creditor, person entitled to a spouse’s or child’s award and the representative. The petition to contest a will must be mailed or delivered to all heirs, legatees, fiduciaries, or any other person whose rights would be affected by the will contest. It must also be mailed or delivered to the executor or administrator and to the attorney of record for the executor or administration.