When a loved one passes away, the will should determine how assets are distributed. Unfortunately, sometimes there is more than one will on file. If that happens, it can be difficult to determine which one is valid.
Here are some things that you should understand about probate courts and the process for evaluating multiple wills.
Are the wills dated?
If there are dates on each will, the courts will often consider the most recent one to be the one that is valid. However, the date on that will is relevant as well when it comes to determining the deceased’s frame of mind at the time. A will written days before death, for example, may not be valid because the deceased may not have been of sound mind.
Were there witnesses?
If both wills contain witness signatures, those witnesses should appear before the probate judge. The witness statements about the time when the will was written, the deceased’s intentions and state of mind will contribute to determining which will is valid.
Are there any indications of fraud?
Each will should be inspected for any indications of fraud. Sometimes, a family member might try to sneak a different will into the mix if they believe that they were omitted. The probate judge can determine validity before choosing the will that is enforceable.
Enforcing a will and distributing assets appropriately should not be complicated. Sometimes, it is made more complicated than necessary by the presence of more than one will. Consider these points as you have the wills evaluated in probate court.