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Will Contest, Multiple Wills, Res Judicata

If a will contest is successful, then the legal effect is that the will is invalid and void. Section 473.083.7 (A will contest determines “intestacy or testacy or which writing or writings constitute the decedent’s will.”). Accordingly, assuming there is no prior will, the Court finds that the person died intestate/without a will in the case of a successful will contest.

It is not uncommon for an individual to execute multiple wills through his/her lifetime. To be valid, a will must be presented to the probate court within a very specific period of time. If there is more than one will, the claimed correct will must be timely presented. Though rare, it is possible for someone to contest a will and procure a finding that the person passed away intestate, thereby inadvertently precluding through res judicata an argument that there is another valid will. Bugg v. Rutter, 466 S.W.3d 596, 602 (Mo. Ct. App. 2015).

Contact with questions with respect to will contests and estate disputes.