When a person leaves a will at his death, the will generally must be probated before the deceased's assets can be distributed to his beneficiaries. If there are disagreements about the will, beneficiaries can dispute the will in court. If, however, there are no disagreements, beneficiaries can sign a waiver and consent to speed up the process.
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Effect of Waiver and Consent
When a beneficiary signs a waiver and consent form, he is giving up some of his rights. Essentially, the form says the beneficiary agrees the will is valid and the person named on the form should be executor, or manager, of the estate. If a beneficiary disagrees with the executor's appointment or thinks the will should be challenged, he generally should not sign the waiver and consent form. Once this form is signed, the beneficiary loses his ability to challenge the appointment of the executor or validity of the will itself. The form also waives the beneficiary's right to be served with notices as the probate case progresses.
Effect of Not Signing
If the beneficiary chooses not to sign the waiver and consent form, the case must proceed along different lines. Generally, the prospective executor must tell the court the form was not signed and the court schedules the case for a hearing. At the hearing, the beneficiary can produce evidence to challenge the will or other aspects of the case.