The death of your loved ones is unbearable. But the Will that the deceased has left might have to go through a probate process. For a variety of reasons, this Will can be challenged, leading to a Will Contest. If you are the executor of probate, then firstly consult with a reputed NYC Probate Lawyer regarding your case. But before that, you can go through this article to know about a Will contest’s details.
What Do You Mean by NYC Probate Lawyer Contesting a Will?
When someone contests a Will, it merely means that they object to Will’s validity and terms. Anyone can contest a Will, but ‘anyone’ is someone who has some advantage or gains if it is proven to be invalid. These people may not be included or may be included in the Will, or they can be other inheritors of the Will.
The contesting party may be children or grandchildren, siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, spouses, business partners, or friends of the deceased. If the children contesting the Will are minor, then their guardian can contest on their behalf.
Why Will Someone Contest a Will?
There are several reasons to contest a Will during probate proceedings. Here are some general points which are to be kept in mind to prove a Will legally in Court.
- The legal Will must be created by someone who is mentally competent and of adult age.
- Will should not be created due to the influence of any outsider or relatives.
- The Will should go by laws of the State where the deceased had all his estates.
- The sign on the Will should be proved with proper documents of the deceased.
Here are some common grounds based on which a Will can be contested—
- Claims of influence while making of the Will.
- Fraud Cases.
- Improper execution of Will or not prepared with enough time.
- In case the deceased was not mentally fit, then the Will can be challenged quickly.
- Handwritten or holographic Will.
- A Will without a sign of forged signature is open to contests.
Any knowledgeable NYC Probate Lawyer can provide all the above information.
How can NYC Probate Lawyer Contest a Will in Probate Cases?
The executor named in the probate needs to take the initiative to file the probate in the Surrogate’s Court and all supporting documents. He should list out all the assets, bills, and debts of the deceased.
It is the executor’s responsibility to information regarding the death and assets to everyone mentioned in the Will to get their consent in favor of the probate. He/she needs to distribute the property amongst all the beneficiaries mentioned.
1. Gather your part of knowledge.
The best option is to consult an NYC Probate Lawyer who can explain the steps in detail and all the formalities. Ensure that you have proper ground to challenge the Will. Check all the laws of your State regarding Will Contests, and see whether your reason falls under the law. See, after how much time of someone’s demise, one can challenge the Will.
2. Form & File the Petition with supporting documents.
Hire a judicial attorney to handle the case if the matter involves substantial valued assets. Finally, file the petition as a claim to change the Will or challenge the Will. Once you file the petition, the next task is to gather witnesses and supporters.
3. Check whether you have witnesses and shreds of evidence.
The first thing that the probate code does is to set a date of hearing. But before that, the most important thing for you to do is collect all evidence and witnesses to support your claim. The more genuine your witnesses seem to be, the stronger your side of the case will be in return.
Carefully note down all the dates of hearing and make sure you are present those days for the sessions. In case you cannot appear, ask your lawyer to take the case forward.
No – Contest Clauses
These clauses are very dangerous as they try to stop you from contesting in a Will. Clauses like whoever challenges the Will will lose their interests in the property, or if the person cannot prove the Will to be invalid, he will lose all his property. Hence carefully search for such clauses.
Open contesting a will takes almost months or years and also draws vast amounts of money. But without legal advice from an NYC Probate Lawyer, one is generally blind in such cases. Hence, one repeatedly thinks whether you want the case or not. Make sure you have all the documents and evidence ready to support your claim – Double-check for no contest statements.