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Do I have grounds to challenge my loved one’s will?

| Nov 7, 2017 | estate administration & probate |

It is always difficult when a loved one passes away, but it can be extremely difficult when there are complications over the estate of your loved one. Whether you did not get the inheritance you expected, feel surprised by the terms of the will or believe that you have legal grounds to challenge the will for any reason, you have a long road ahead. 

New York readers know that challenging a will is not an easy process, but it may be necessary to take this action if you believe you experienced a violation of your rights or you believe the will does not reflect the true wishes of your loved one. When taking this course of action, you would be wise to have experienced legal guidance as you navigate the process of fighting for a fair outcome. 

What are valid reasons to challenge a will?

You cannot simply challenge a will because you do not like the way it’s written or you think you should get more money. Only certain people can challenge a will, and even eligible individuals must have a specific reason to do so. Some of the reasons why it may be prudent to challenge a will include the following:

  • Questions over mental capacity: If your loved one lacked the capacity to make prudent decisions regarding the drafting of the will or changes to an existing estate plan, you may be able to legally question the terms of the will.
  • Possibility of undue influence: If you believe that a family member, caretaker or other individual influenced your loved one to include certain terms in his or her will or make changes in an existing will, it could be grounds to challenge it.
  • Suspicion of fraud or forgery: Any evidence of fraud or forgery in the drafting of a new will or changing an existing will could render the current will invalid.

If you believe that someone took advantage of your loved one or exerted his or her influence over that person for financial gain or other reason, you do not have to sit by silently. As an heir or beneficiary, you may have the right to speak up and seek a different outcome.

Fighting for what’s fair

When it appears that a will contest could be the best option for you, you would be wise to have an experienced legal ally by your side. Successfully challenging a will requires a thorough investigation, close knowledge of the law and experience in estate litigation.