Simply because a person is slightly disgruntled with the outcomes of property distribution after a loved one’s death, it does not necessarily mean that he or she needs to take legal action. However, if there is real reason to believe that certain documents should not be considered valid, individuals may choose to carry out will contests. Before doing so, New York residents may want to closely consider their reasons.
In some cases, loved ones may believe that a will was created after the decedent had lost the ability to think clearly for him or herself. This ability is known as testamentary capacity. When individuals develop issues pertaining to their mental clarity, such as developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, this capacity to make sound decisions may no longer exist. As a result, any documents created after this decline may not be considered valid.
Another issue that could arise when a person’s mental abilities begin to decline is the risk for undue influence. This situation involves a person in close position to an individual, such as a caretaker, taking advantage of the individual’s vulnerable state in order to influence him or her to create a will that favors the caretaker, or other party. If undue influence is proven, the court is unlikely to honor the will.
Will contests are not easy endeavors to undertake. However, a person’s last wishes are immensely important, and surviving loved ones want to make sure that the true intentions of the deceased are honored. If New York residents believe that there is an issue with their with loved ones’ wills or other documents, they may want to consult with knowledgeable legal counsel about their possible options.