Washington courts authorize any interested person to contest the probate or rejection of a will if the person petitions the court within four months after entry of the order admitting a will to probate or rejection.

The professionals at Lyons Sullivan can counsel, represent, and provide legal advice for clients to bring or defend against contesting a will. Typical reasons for granting a Will contest petition are failure to meet the formal requirements, legal incapacity of the decedent, fraud, undue influence by another or other causes affecting all or part of the Will. The standard for granting a Will contest petition is “clear and convincing” evidence.

An interested person is someone who has an interest therein, and that the interest is a direct, pecuniary one. In other words, the contestant must stand to lose directly in a financial way if the will which he or she seeks to attack is permitted to stand.

The contestant must file a petition containing his or her objections and exceptions to said will, or to the rejection thereof. Issues respecting the competency of the deceased to make a last will and testament, or respecting the execution by a deceased of the last will and testament under restraint or undue influence or fraudulent representations, or for any other cause affecting the validity of the will or a part of it, shall be tried and determined by the court.

If no person appears within the four month time period, the probate or rejection of such will is binding and final.