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FAQ > The Basics > What is a will “contest”?

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If a disgruntled relative seeks to have the will declared invalid by filing a lawsuit, a will contest occurs. The disgruntled relative usually feels that he or she did not get “their fair share” of your estate. He or she hopes to have the will declared invalid and thereby attempts to gain an increased share.

Some of the reasons that wills are contested include claims that the person was not of sound mind when the will was created, that the person did not understand what was being done, or that the person was under coercion or undue influence. Some states allow “self-proving” wills, to help discourage will contests. With a self-proving will, the signer and witnesses affirm that the will signing is valid and then the will or affidavit is notarized.