If you aren’t satisfied with the content of a will, the best way to challenge the will is by contesting it in court. But, worthy to note is that, a will cannot be contested by anyone. Based on probate law, wills can only be contested by spouses, children, or individuals designated in the will or a previous will. When one of these individuals notifies the court that they believe there is an issue with the will, a contest starts.
If you wish to contest a will in NYC, below are some of the things you need to know including how to go about the process.
What is a will?
A will is one of the most important estate planning document. Without this legal document, your estate will be shared and managed based on the intestate laws of your state. A will is simply a document that contains your wishes. It contains how you want your assets to be shared, who you want to receive a portion of your assets, how you wish to be buried, the name of your estate executor, including other significant information.
Wills can vary based on their effectiveness, depending on the type, though no document will likely solve the problems that comes up after your death. If you die without a will, it would be impossible to execute your wishes. In addition, your heirs may end up spending extra time, money, including emotional energy to resolve your affairs after your demise.
Grounds for contesting a will
As soon as it is established that an individual is eligible to contest the will, objections can be filed in surrogate’s court to stop the will from undergoing probate. According to New York’s law, a will contest may be made based on the grounds mentioned below:
1. Undue Execution
The will was not well executed. If this is the case you can contest the will.
If the will was revoked by the testator, you can contest the will.
The testator lacked the capacity to execute a last will and testament. If this is the case, contact a probate attorney and prepare to contest the will.
You can contest a will if the testator was induced by fraud in making or executing the will
5. Undue influence
You can contest the will in the event that undue influence was exerted upon the testator in the making or execution of the will. In addition, you can also contest the will if you feel the testator was manipulated into drafting a will.
How to contest a will in NYC
When starting a will challenge in NYC, It is crucial you understand that although one or all grounds may seem to be present, there might be strong conflicting evidence that says the opposite. The executor may table medical records which shows that the decedent was found in good health by his doctor, including writings like emails showing that the will admitted for probate is indeed according to the decedent’s wishes.
If the last will and testament of the decedent is turned down and deemed invalid, the whole estate will be inherited by the heirs of the deceased pursuant of New York’s intestacy law. There also exist the case in which a judge will rule only if specific provisions are invalid, while leaving other to remain.
What happens when you win a will contest?
If you contest a will and become successful, the judge may decide to state that all of parts of the will are invalid and cannot be used to distribute your property. The court will then share your property and money as it sees fit, which may be as if there exist no will at all. If that happens, your estate will be distributed based on New York’s law of intestacy.
Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
Contesting a will can be very complicated. To increase your chance of success in this quest, it is important you seek the help of a professional. Our estate planning attorneys can be of great help when contesting a will.
They can help you determine if you are in the best position to contest the will or not, thus saving you the time and stress of going through the process. This professional can also help you in case the necessary grounds for contesting a will are available. Contact our office now to schedule a consultation.