There are many reasons for contesting a will that can arise during the probate process. When you are making your estate plan, it is important to understand the possible ways that someone could argue against the validity of your will. If you are the executor of an estate or if you stand to inherit after a death, you also need to know why people might contest a will so you can be prepared in case there is a risk of a will contest during the probate process you are involved in.
The Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C. knows New York laws on will contests inside and out. Our legal team can assist you in identifying common reasons for contesting a will and can help you to decide if there is grounds for a will contest during probate. If you are making plans to transfer your wealth to your loved ones, we can also help you to take the right strategic steps to reduce the chances that someone will contest your will successfully. Give us a call to find out more about the ways in which our legal team can assist you in trying to have a will declared invalid or in fighting to protect a will during the probate process.
Common Reasons for Contesting a Will
There are many different reasons why a person might decide to contest a will, depending upon the circumstances surrounding the will creation. Some of the most common reasons for challenging that a will is a valid and enforceable reflection of the deceased person’s wishes include:
- Allegations the will was made under conditions of fraud or duress: A will is not valid if someone was forced or tricked into making it.
- Allegations the will was made when its creator was of unsound mind: A person who has lost his mental capacity and who cannot make informed decisions on his own cannot make a legally valid will.
- Claims that a different will should be controlling: Sometimes, a deceased person has left behind multiple wills and there are questions over which will is the correct and most up-to-date reflection of the wishes of the deceased.
These are just some of the many different reasons for contesting a will. The Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C. can provide insight in your specific situation about whether or not a will contest is likely to succeed.
What Happens if a Will is Contested?
If a will is contested, the executor of an estate should seek legal help to fight the challenge to the validity of the will. An executor has a fiduciary duty, which is the highest duty under the law. This means it is imperative that an executor successfully fulfill his responsibilities during the probate process. This can include making sure that a valid will is defended so it can be probated, rather than the wishes of the deceased not being respected because a will contest is successful.
If the person contesting the will can prove that there were problems with it, the probate court may decide it cannot be probated. If this is the case, then intestacy law will determine what happens to the assets of the deceased, unless there is another will or other estate planning documents that are legally valid and that provide instructions for how wealth should transfer after death.
Getting Help from An Estate Planning Lawyer With Will Contests
If you are the executor of an estate and the deceased’s wishes are being contested, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to fight to show the will is valid and enforceable. Heirs or beneficiaries should also have legal help if a will is being contested, as it is their inheritance that could be at stake. Finally, if you are the person who does not believe the will is a true reflection of the wishes of the deceased, you should also seek legal advice to make sure a knowledgeable professional helps you to craft arguments that you can present to the court.
The Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C. has provided representation to heirs and beneficiaries, executors of an estate, and those contesting a will. We also help you with the estate planning process so you can reduce the chances that your will is going to be invalidated after you are gone. To learn more, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 866-370-3888 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team for help.