How to Contest a Will While Overseas

by Anna Assad

Your loved one's will contains the directions for the distribution of his assets and belongings to heirs. You, as an heir, have the legal right to contest a will being offered for probate, the legal procedure used to uphold the will and give authority to the executor, the person overseeing the estate. Acceptable legal reasons for a will contest vary by state but include fraud in the will's preparation or execution and questions as to your loved one's mental state at the time. You should retain legal representation in the United States if you live overseas and cannot attend hearings.

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Step 1

Contact the probate court handling the estate. Request a copy of the will. You need to submit proof of your identity with the will request.

Step 2

Read the will over carefully. Some wills contain "no contest" clauses; if you challenge the will and lose, you lose all rights to the estate.

Step 3

Contact a licensed attorney in the state of the probate court. The attorney can appear in court in the United States for you. Visit the official website of the American Bar Association to locate a probate attorney available in the area of the court. Get all fees in writing before entering into a relationship with any attorney.

Step 4

Detail your contest in a written statement. Give your reasons for contesting the will and details about evidence you have that supports your claim. Gather the supporting evidence and attach to your statement. Note any evidence you cannot get while overseas, like a letter written by the deceased person that is in her home, and list the possible locations for each item.

Step 5

List all witnesses who have knowledge that supports your case. Include addresses and contact information. For each person, note what knowledge the witness has next to his name.

Step 6

Give the written statement, your evidence and the witness list to your attorney. The attorney will use your information to prepare the court petition and establish your case. Answer any questions the attorney has.

Step 7

Check the court petition; the attorney will send you the proposed petition before filing. Verify the information is accurate and clearly represents your opposition to the will. Contact the attorney if any revisions are needed. Sign the petition once the document is correct. Return it to your attorney in the United States immediately.