• Richardson Maples, P.C.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Estate & Probate Litigation


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  • Does a will have to be filed when someone dies? There is no requirement that an existing will be filed upon someone’s death. But, it may be necessary to file a will in order to properly transfer property or an interest in property held by the deceased in accordance with his or her wishes.

  • What if a will is not filed? If a will is not filed, one with standing may file a petition with the probate court asking that those in possession of a will file it or asking to proceed with administering the estate of the deceased without a will.

  • Can you dispute a will after it’s been filed? Once a will is filed for probate, everyone with an interest in the estate should have the opportunity to contest the will. But, one must act quickly or that right can be extinguished.

  • How do I dispute a will? A will can be disputed or contested in a number of ways for various reasons, but must be done formally with the probate court where the will is filed.

  • What if there is more than one will? If there is more than one will and there is a legitimate basis to question the authenticity or effect of either, the probate court must determine which will governs. This is done through pleadings and evidentiary matters presented to the probate court.

  • Is a handwritten will valid? In certain situations, a hand-written will can be accepted for probate by the court. It depends on how the will is witnessed and whether it meets with the other requirement of a valid will under the law.