Unlike in the movies where one party storms out of the reading of a will to talk to a judge, Oregon has strict estate administration and litigation laws. They define who has the legal right to contest a will in the first place. In other words, they must have “standing.”

Former beneficiaries of an outdated will

The ex-spouse of a decedent was a beneficiary under an older version of the will. However, prior to death, the individual entered into a relationship with another person and made them the beneficiary instead. The ex-spouse has standing because they were a former beneficiary.

For example, they might argue diminished capacity before an estate administration and litigation court.

Close relatives who receive nothing

The decedent decided to disinherit one or more of their children. Because they would be heirs-at-law, they would normally inherit if the individual died without a will. Because they now do not receive anything, they have the standing to contest.

It is interesting to note that minors do not have the legal standing to challenge anything. However, if they have a guardian, this adult could contest the division of the estate for the youngster.

Standing does not guarantee success

You can leave your possessions to anyone you wish. Therefore, even if someone has the standing to contest the will, it does not mean that they will win the case and receive a part of the estate. To take advantage of legal standing, the person contesting the will must show a reason. For example, they might argue that a third party swindled you into making the will you did.

If you are currently considering making a will and might leave out an heir-at-law, or if you are someone with standing who wants to contest a will, it is in your best interest to protect your rights by discussing the situation with an attorney.