Will Contests

Alabama law strongly favors the right of people to make a will, leaving their estates to whomever they choose. For this reason, it can be difficult to get a court to undo a will or render a will invalid. However, there are situations in which this may be the right thing to do. If you need help, call an experienced will contest attorney in Birmingham, and get help today.

Alabama Will Formalities

A lot of people choose to purchase ready-made wills from internet companies or, worse yet, to purchase them in form books at office stores. Likewise, some people just find templates online and fill in the blanks. While this can sometimes be sufficient, it generally ends badly. Alabama law has several key requirements:

  • The person making the will must be of legal age (18 or older)
  • He or she must be mentally capable of making a will
  • Two witnesses must observe the person signing his or her will
  • Witnesses should not be interested parties (heirs and close relatives)
  • Other formalities may apply, depending on the circumstances
Grounds For Contesting A Will

There can be a lot of reasons why someone would feel the need to contest a will, but not all reasons are valid and worth pursuing. In general, if the will fails to meet technical formalities, this can be a straightforward reason for contesting it. Otherwise, the following are common reasons for disputing the validity of a will:

  • Mental incapacity
  • Undue influence
  • Fraud
  • Forgery
Mental Capacity To Make A Will

The law says the person making a will must have the required mental capacity. Usually, even some minor mental impairment is not sufficient to invalidate a will, as the threshold is fairly low. Even where a person has bad days and good days, courts have upheld wills written during lucid intervals. Therefore, it can be challenging to prove that a deceased person lacked capacity at the time of making and signing a will.

Undue Influence

This is often a hotly disputed and difficult concept to understand. It means that while making the will, someone exerted such influence and control that it essentially substituted their desires for those of the person making the will. This often occurs when there is a weak or ill individual who is coerced or pressured into changing a will. Caregivers, neighbors, and estranged relatives sometimes use strong tactics to convince vulnerable older adults to change their wills, even on their deathbeds.


If a will is created through fraud, a court may determine that it fails to represent the true intent of the decedent. Fraud happens in a lot of ways. Perhaps someone “helped” create a will, only to swap out pages from the original will. Or, perhaps a “friendly” neighbor or caregiver posed as an attorney in order to change a loved one’s will. Anything that involves an attempt to defraud someone regarding a will might be grounds for contesting the will.


Sadly, some people are so desperate to take what is not theirs that they will even resort to forging signatures in order to take assets from someone’s estate. This can mean forging the decedent’s signature or adding fake witnesses. Whatever the case, forgery is a sure ground for disputing a will. Of course, proving a forgery can still be quite challenging because courts presume that a will is valid until proven otherwise.

Birmingham Will Contests

Call Five Points Law Group today to schedule a confidential case evaluation, and find out more about how we can help you fight for your inheritance.

Burton Dunn

Estate Planning & Probate Law

Burton Dunn

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Kristin Waters Sullivan

Estate Planning & Probate Law

Kristin Waters Sullivan

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