Anyone who has ever inherited something from their parents, grandparents, or other family members would know that sometimes, the provisions of a will may not work in their favor. There are a lot of people who receive inheritances that they didn’t want or envy other beneficiaries for what they received. This is a common occurrence, but is there something that can be done about it?
Can You Change the Provisions of a Will?
The purpose of a will is to reflect the last wishes of a person who passed away. Hence, the court takes the provisions of a will very seriously, unless there is concrete proof or reason to believe that there was a grave mistake made in the will.
The will controls the entire probate process. During this procedure, the courts nor the parties involved do not add or remove anything from the will. They merely execute whatever is written in it. Courts assume that the text in a will reflect the true intentions of the deceased, so typically, a will cannot be changed.
The courts will distribute the assets according to the terms stipulated in the will, regardless of issues concerning the mental capacity of the beneficiary, their ability to handle money responsibly, substance abuse concerns, gambling concerns, compromised relationships, etc. This is to preserve the intention of the deceased.
However, there are special circumstances under which a will can be challenged. The parties can always try to petition the court to steer the assets into a trust or to make allegations in an effort to change the will. But these are very difficult to do and the chances of the court approving the change are slim.
What Needs to Be Done?
There is little that a person can do to change the provisions of a will because it’s the court’s priority to distribute the assets according to the last wishes of the deceased, as reflected in the document. The only duty of the probate court is to obey what the will stipulates.
The only course of action is something that should be done during life, which is to ensure that everything in a will is correct, valid, and reflects one’s true intentions. This goes hand in hand with the importance of engaging an estate planning attorney to help in drafting the will, which will reduce the chances of complications and errors that can cause distress and money to the beneficiaries and the estate.
Having a will is similar to a person implying that he or she knows what they are doing. This is what the courts will assume as well. So if there are any mistakes or oversight in a will, the chances of being able to change it are very slim and may not be possible.