How Common Is It For A Will In Probate To Be Opposed Or Contested?
Will contests are not very common. Most law firms have a will contest once in the proverbial blue moon or almost never. Our law firm, however, will have an open will contest on any given day of the year. Based upon a couple of decades of experience, my observation is that less than 10% of wills are contested in probate court.
Who Can Contest A Will In Probate In Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, anyone who is “legally interested” in the estate may contest a will in probate. Heirs, spouse, beneficiaries, and the personal representative named in the will of the decedent can contest a will. The term “interested person” is a legal term. It does not include everyone who has a casual question in their mind. Interested people are people whose rights would be affected by the will’s admission to probate.
Can Creditors Contest The Will Of A Debtor In Oklahoma?
A creditor could contest the admission of a will. However, it’s highly unlikely that creditors would need to contest a will because their rights are substantially created and supported by the Oklahoma statutes. Therefore, creditors still have their rights regardless of whether there is a last will and testament admitted to probate. Theoretically, a creditor could object to the admission of a will, but I’ve never actually seen that happen. I cannot think of a reason a creditor would need to do so, or would even want to do so.
Whose Responsibility Is It To Defend The Will Against A Will Contest If He Or She Believes The Will Is Valid?
The party responsible to defend a will against a will contest will most likely be the individuals inheriting from the will. For instance, if I were named the personal representative of my brother’s estate, but I was not going to inherit from the estate, it is highly unlikely that I would be willing to spend the thousands of dollars necessary to defend an objection to the will. Therefore, the people who are inheriting under the will should be compelled to defend against the will contest.
Unfortunately, it is entirely possible that the individuals may not have enough money to defend against a will contest. When that happens, they may be able to hire an attorney who is willing and able to defend them. The attorney would get paid later if and when they win. It is a very difficult task to accomplish, but it has been done on occasions.
An attorney who agrees to get paid based on the success or failure of a case implements what is known as a contingency fee contract. Contingency fee contracts are fairly popular in wrongful death and personal injury cases. Usually, the attorney only gets paid his or her attorney fee if they win the case. Unfortunately, an attorney will generally charge a much higher fee for a contingency fee contract since they are not getting paid in advance for defending the case, and may not get paid at all if they lose.
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