You may be left or cut out of a will which you ought to have rightfully inherited. There can be quite a few grounds on the basis of which you may contest a will in New York. Browse through the following to find out what these legal grounds are:
The testator does not have mental ability to sign a will
When the following is complied with – the testator understands the value of their property, the legal repercussions of signing a will, and the logical inheritors the estate will go to. People can prove that the testator lacks testamentary capacity to sign the will and challenge the will on this ground.
The will was not signed in keeping with the laws of the state
All the states have their own laws as far as signing the last will and testament is concerned. And it is not always true that a will that is executed in a lawyer’s office is signed keeping in mind all the proper legal formalities. Therefore, it is important to sign a will in accordance with the applicable state laws, in the absence of which a will may be challenged. It, at the same time, is also the most common reason as to why a will is important and often found to be invalid.
Was the will obtained by deception
When the testator is tricked into signing a will, it is said to be acquired by fraud. For instance, if the testator is given the real will which they were told was a deed or a power of attorney and made to sign it, it is a case of fraud. Since the testator cannot be questioned as to what they signed, witnesses are asked what document the testator signed and why they were asked to act as witnesses to the process. If the words of the witnesses differ from that of the claimant, the will is declared invalid. It is not because it was acquired unlawfully, but more importantly because it was not signed in the proper manner.
Older people become more dependent of others around them, and hence can be easily influenced. When severe pressure is put on a testator so that they lose free will and comes under the influence of the alleged influencer, the testator is said to have been tricked into signing the will.
How will you contest a will?
There are certain things that you should keep in mind while contesting a will. Read on to find out what they are:
- Hire a lawyer who specializes in this particular area
- Discuss your issues with a lawyer who is an expert in probate and estate law.
- Attend hearings and keep track of court proceedings
- Do not lose track of the court proceedings with regard to the estate. Make it a point to appear in each one of them.
- Be clear about the reason why you want to contest the will
There may be various reasons why you were left out of the will. What do you think the real reason is? Be clear about it and ask yourself whether it is legally enforceable or not.
Several requirements can apply to make a will legally enforceable, and if these requirements are not met the will can be considered invalid
If the testator is of legal age, and sound mind and has not been coerced into signing the will, or if the will is signed in the presence of 2 witnesses who are not heirs to the will, and are at least 14 years of age, then the will is legal, and if these criteria are not met, the will may be considered invalid.