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Legal grounds are necessary for will contests to proceed

| Oct 17, 2018 | Probate |

If New York residents feel that their loved ones’ final wishes are not being followed, they may not know what their legal options are. If individuals believe that a document was created without the proper authority or that it does not reflect a family member’s true wishes, it is possible that legal action may be necessary. Will contests can help ensure that deceased loved ones’ wishes are honored. However, there must be specific reason for this legal action to take place.

For instance, if a person believes that a will was created when the testator — or person who created the document — lacked the mental ability to understand the value of his or her assets and did not have the ability to make logical choices regarding property distribution, grounds to contest a will likely exist. This type of scenario relates to the fact that the testator did not have the testamentary capacity to create a legally binding document. However, it can be difficult to prove that a person was lacking this capacity.

Another reason an individual may have to contest a will relates to undue influence. This type of scenario is unfortunately not uncommon as some individuals in positions of power — such as caregivers — may influence vulnerable parties for personal gain. As a result, a testator may leave an entire estate to one person because that person unduly influenced that choice.

Will contests can be complicated endeavors, but if New York residents feel that their loved ones were taken advantage of or did not have the proper understanding to create estate planning documents, it may be wise to consider this legal step. Interested parties may want to learn more about the grounds for challenging wills. They may also want to consult with knowledgeable attorneys who could provide useful insight into their specific cases.