New York Contested Wills Lawyer

New York Contested Wills Lawyer - Although it happens more frequently (and more dramatically) in movies and television, wills sometimes are challenged, or contested. Your will can only be contested by someone who claims a valid and legal interest in your estate. This could include family members who would inherit under your state's laws of intestate succession, or beneficiaries you named in a previous will but left out of the one being offered for probate.

There are several grounds for contesting a will. The one most often used for contesting a will is that the testator was not competent. Another ground is that the formalities for executing the will were not fully met, and so the will is invalid. Wills may also be challenged on the grounds of fraud or mistake, or that the document was never intended to serve as a will in the first place. That's why it's important to state early on in the document that you intend for it to be your will.

One of your executor's responsibilities is to defend your will's validity if it is contested. If your will is successfully contested, the law of intestate succession will be used to distribute your estate.

The best way to minimize the chances of a successful challenge to your will is by being sure to carefully follow all the required steps in executing it, including telling the witnesses that the document is your will and having the witnesses sign it correctly.

You can also include what's called a "no-contest" clause, a provision in your will that entirely disinherits any one who challenges it. However, some courts won't honor this provision if the person bringing the challenge can show a reasonable basis for making it, even if the challenge proves unsuccessful. And if someone brings a successful challenge, the provision won't be enforced anyway. Still, if you are concerned that someone without a reasonable claim might challenge your will's provisions, it may be worthwhile to include a no-contest clause.

Some common New York Wills, Trust, and Estate issues include the following:

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