The need for contesting a will in New York comes up when one party benefiting from the will is not satisfied with the will. This could be as a result of the unsatisfied party feeling cheated by the will of the decedent. The unsatisfied party may also have reasons to believe that there has been foul play somewhere making another benefiting party of the will to benefit more. You reserve the right to contest a will if you have any reason to doubt the will’s validity.
My guess is that you do not know how to go about contesting a will in New York.
Steps to Contesting a Will in New York
If you are having the feeling of dissatisfaction for a will, and you feel there is a need for you to contest the will, you should first of all find out if you have legal ground to challenge the will. So the first step to take is to contact a probate attorney, a wills, trusts and estate attorney or an estate litigation attorney. Your attorney will be the one to give you legal advice on how to proceed with contesting the will.
To officially begin the will contest, the unsatisfied party with the help of his or her attorney will have to file an objection to probate in the Surrogate’s Court in charge of the will. Filing of an objection should be done on or before the return date of citation issued by the court.
Validity of a Will in New York
Even if it is very obvious and clear that a will is unfair to a party, the dissatisfaction of that party alone is not enough reason to pursue a will contest in New York. The will itself has to be directly flawed or the proceedings leading to its execution questionable. Otherwise, in New York the unsatisfied party cannot initiate a will contest solely on grounds that the will is unfair to him or her.
In New York, there are four grounds on which a will can be challenged:
- Fraud: A will is invalid in the presence of two forms of fraud
a.)When a decedent was forced against his or her intentions. He may be convinced to leave his entire estate to a certain beneficiary. He may also be pressured to change his will in favor of a particular party.
b.) If a decedent was deceived into affixing his or her signature on to a will when they actually thought they were signing something else. Also, it could be that the signature on the will offered for probate isn’t the genuine signature of the decedent.
- Lacking Mental Capacity: The state of mind of the decedent due to old age or any other reason could be a legal ground for the challenger to contest a will. But old age alone isn’t enough. The challenger should be able to provide backing proofs such as medical reports, witness testimony, etc.
- Improper execution of will: In New York, a will must be in written form and must have the signature of the decedent at the end of it for it to be accepted. Also it must have had more than one person to witness the signing else it will be deemed invalid. Oral wills are not accepted in New York. Improper execution of will is a very common challenge to wills.
- Undue Influence: An individual might have influenced the will decision of the decedent to favor themselves. This is common when a decedent leaves a very large portion of their estate for someone they were romantically involved with who isn’t a spouse. In this case the family members feel cheated and contest the will to prove that the decedent was unduly influenced.
Get help from a will contest attorney in New York
It is very awful and terrible when you are cheated out of the inheritance of a loved one, especially when you know they were convinced against their intentions.
If you have tangible reasons to believe that this is the case, you need not to worry as this can be made right. Call us for assistance from an attorney experienced in handling will contests in New York.