Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC can provide legal counsel if you are looking to contest a will in New York. Our lawyers will evaluate your situation and the grounds upon which you can file a formal objection, including documents about the deceased person’s finances and medical status. We also need a copy of the attorney’s file who established the will. The process also involves you asking questions under oath to the attorney who created the will and possibly witnesses to the will.
If you are looking for legal advice to contest a will, contact Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC at (914) 228-7448 to learn about our services.
Under New York’s laws, only specific individuals have the ability to challenge the probate of a will. They must have a financial interest and be adversely affected by it. The pursuant must be the deceased person’s heir, also known as a distributee, such as a spouse, child, sibling, or a beneficiary under a prior will. In either case, the individual seeking to contest the will would inherit less if the current will is enforced.
Grounds to Contest a Will
To challenge a will, the person must have grounds, reasons based on the law, that would invalidate the will and prevent it from being admitted to probate. It can be difficult to prove certain grounds and they may hinge on the actions of various individuals, including the person who signed the will (testator), a beneficiary, or another person who may have exerted fraud or undue influence over the testator. Any will challenge requires in-depth investigation and careful review of documentation.
Common grounds to challenge a will in New York include:
- Improper execution: The will does not meet legal requirements such as a lack of witnesses present during the signature, or either the witnesses or the testator didn’t sign the document.
- Undue influence: This often happens in a situation where an individual persuades the testator to change the will in their favor at the expense of relatives and other beneficiaries. An individual may also argue that the testator signed their will under duress due to extreme pressure from someone else.
- Lack of testamentary capacity: This means that the testator lacked a general understanding of their assets, their family members, and what their will entails, for health reasons.
- Fraud: The individual arguing the will is a product of fraud must present clear and convincing evidence, such as proving that the testator believed they were signing another legal document, such as a Power of Attorney, when they signed a will.
- Revocation: The person contesting the will aims to prove that the will submitted to probate is not the last or most current will. In New York, the testator can revoke a will or direct someone to do this during their lifetime. To revoke a will, the testator can either sign a new one, destroy the current one, or set in writing their clear intention to revoke it.
If a will challenge is successful, the judge may deem all or parts of the will invalid. The court will divide the deceased’s property and assets as they see fit according to New York’s law of intestacy.
Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC can help you challenge a will. Call our Schenectady lawyers today at (914) 228-7448 or use our online form to schedule an appointment.
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