What They Won’t Tell You About A New York Will Contest

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What They Won’t Tell You About A New York Will Contest

Will contests in New York can be fraught with complexity and emotional challenges. While many are familiar with the basic grounds for contesting a will, such as undue influence or lack of capacity, there are several nuances and lesser-known facts that can significantly impact the outcome of a will contest. Morgan Legal Group brings to light these often-overlooked aspects, offering invaluable insights for anyone navigating this difficult process.

The Real Emotional Cost

While the financial aspects of a will contest are frequently discussed, the emotional toll on families is less commonly addressed. Understanding the potential for strained relationships and prolonged legal battles is crucial for anyone considering contesting a will.

The Importance of Timing

Timing is critical in a New York will contest. Specific statutes of limitations apply, and missing these deadlines can forfeit your right to contest. This section will detail the crucial timelines and how they can vary based on individual circumstances.

Hidden Legal Complexities

Will contests involve intricate legal procedures that can be overwhelming for the uninitiated? We’ll delve into some of the procedural nuances that can make or break a case, from filing requirements to evidentiary standards specific to New York law.

The Role of a “No-Contest” Clause

Many are unaware of the implications of a “no-contest” clause in a will. This section will explain how these clauses work in New York, their enforceability, and situations where contesting a will might still be possible without risking your inheritance.

Chances of Success

Understanding the likelihood of success in a will contest is essential. We’ll provide insights into factors that can influence the outcome, including the quality of evidence and the competency of legal representation, specifically within the context of New York’s legal landscape.

Navigating Alternatives to Court Battles

Before embarking on a will contest, it’s important to consider alternative dispute resolution methods. Mediation or settlement negotiations can sometimes offer a more amicable and cost-effective solution. This section will explore these options and their potential benefits.

The Morgan Legal Group Advantage

Choosing the right legal partner is crucial in a will contest. Learn why Morgan Legal Group is the trusted choice for navigating the complexities of estate litigation in New York, with a focus on personalized strategy and client advocacy.

Conclusion: Beyond the Surface of Will Contests

A New York will contest involves much more than just legal documents and courtrooms; it’s a process filled with strategic, emotional, and procedural complexities. With the right guidance and understanding of the often-unspoken aspects of these contests, you can make informed decisions about how to proceed with your case.

Have you ever wondered why written will contests in New York involve many different considerations?

Like any contest in a law court, each case has a complex set of statutes and rules regarding the procedure to follow. Whenever someone files a Will with the Court for probate, it is essential to notify all of the decedent’s next of kin regarding the probate proceeding. The next of kin, also known as distributees, have a right under the law to Object to the Will. The notice they receive is called a Citation.

Before filing Objections to a Will, the distributees can obtain testimony and necessary documents from the solicitor who drafted the Will and the attesting witnesses. These procedures are provided for by Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) Section 1404, entitled “Witnesses to be examined; proof required.” As a practical example, a recent case entitled Will of Bellasalmo, decided by Queens Surrogate Peter Kelly on February 9, 2017, provides an in-depth analysis of many of the other procedural and substantive aspects of a contested Will case.

In Bellasalmo, the Court noted that the Objectants had a limitation as to the period for which they could obtain documents and information. Section 207.27 of the Uniform Surrogate’s Court Rules limits the scope of discovery to three years before the Will and two years after the time or date of the Will or the death of the decedent.
The court’s decision in Bellasalmo also explains how the Court reviews Objections that assert a lack of due execution. The Court noted that in a case where a Will has an attestation clause and is executed under the supervision of a competent lawyer and includes a self-proving testimony signed by the attesting witnesses, the law provides an assumption that the Will was appropriately executed as provided for by the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL). When there is a notice of the presumption of due execution, the Objectants must provide evidence to rebut the presumption. The Court, however, threw away the objections regarding lack of due execution and objections based on other grounds.

Just like what happened in the case of Bellasalmo, it is essential to obtain the assistance of an attorney when someone prepares an estate plan and signs a Will. Morgan Legal Group PC can provide such excellent services. Protection by an Attorney is especially true when a testator is aware of a possible challenge to a Will by disgruntled next of kin or family members. The estate laws provide presumptions of validity when an attorney is involved. These presumptions can become very invaluable in defeating a challenge to a Will.

The case of Bellasalmo presents an excellent discussion of many of the claims that can be asserted in a Will Contest plus the evidentiary proof needed to predominate on such assertions to invalidate a Will. Estate litigation can be very complicated.

A review and consultation with a Morgan Legal Group PC Lawyer regarding Surrogate’s Court cases and contested Wills can be helpful. The Morgan Legal Group PC has experience in managing these conflicts or issues, and they help with proper estate planning and Will preparation. You can directly contact them to have your issues resolved.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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