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New York & North Carolina

Contest a Will

Will Disputes in New York & North Carolina

Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC can provide legal counsel if you are looking to contest a will in New York or North Carolina. 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. 

Under North Carolina and 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.

Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC can help you challenge a will. Call our New York or North Carolina lawyers today at (914) 228-7448 or use our online form to schedule an appointment.

Grounds to Contest a Will

To challenge a will in New York or North Carolina, 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 and North Carolina, 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.

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 in North Carolina or New York who created the will and possibly witnesses to the will. 

Learn about the grounds to challenge a will in North Carolina & New York by calling 914-228-7448 or contacting us online today!

Our Results

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    As many of you may know legendary singer/songwriter Aretha Franklin died in 2018 without leaving a will. Other wealthy celebrities such as Prince have done the same. This can lead to many types of unwanted consequences. As an example, the T&E department at PCS is currently ...
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    A local man and his then-wife used undue influence on his elderly mother to clean out the woman’s bank accounts before she passed away, a Schenectady County Surrogate’s Court ruled this week. The verdict, in a case brought by the woman’s two other sons, means the man and his ...
  • Brothers Inheritance Restored Estate Dispute
    After much litigation including more than a dozen depositions, obtaining numerous medical records and various other relevant documents, expert medical testimony, and the beginnings of trial preparation, an estate dispute was settled on behalf of our client for $700,000. Our ...
  • Daughter Settles Dispute Favorably Estate Matter
    On the day of trial our client successfully resolved an estate matter whereby she received 60% of available funds of the estate. Interestingly, the case involved an admission by both brother and sister that their father had upwards of $200,000 in cash at the time of death (a ...
  • Surviving Spouse Inheritance Returned Large Assets Diverted to Wrong Beneficiary
    We are proud to have earned a seven-figure ruling in favor of a surviving spouse. In this particular case, two large assets were diverted through a complex trust and funding formula to the wrong beneficiary. Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC, successfully argued that the ...

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