Challenging a Will
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Testator Lacked Intent
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The second main way to challenge the validity of a will is to show that the testator lacked intent to make the will.

Intent is determined at the moment the will is signed by the testator. In other words, the testator could be deemed "insane" before and/or after signing the will and the will could still be valid. The bottom line is that intent must be very clearly written out in the will.

For example, a will could start off by saying:
I, Tom Testator, am creating my last will and testament. I devise my red 1967 corvette, VIN #7831123452, to my brother Larry.
Here, it is clear what is being devised to Larry – the 1967 red corvette, VIN #7831123452. However, what happens if the 1967 red corvette is not there when Tom dies. Maybe Tom sold the red corvette. If the red corvette is not there when Tom dies, other legal rules would apply. (This is why it is generally advisable to have an attorney draft up your will to cover situations you might never think about).

To further illustrate how clear donative intent must be, let’s look at some examples that do not constitute adequate donative intent.

Ambiguous statements are not sufficient:

"Give Bill $1,000." This is not intended to be a will, because it is too ambiguous. The $1,000 could be for anything, including a debt owed to Bill.

Casual statements are not sufficient:

"I think I’ll give Charles my new sports car." This is not definitive enough.

A letter not intended to be a will is not sufficient:

"Please make a will that gives Debra my vacation home." This is not a will, but merely a letter.

As you can see, it is very important to be clear in drafting your will. Otherwise, a court may determine that your intent was not clear.

Next, let’s look at the third main way to challenge the validity of a will.

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