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Will contests not unusual when documents are changed

| Apr 8, 2019 | probate |

While an individual’s passing means that his or her final affairs need to be settled, it is not unusual for complications during that time to arise. For instance, if a person or organization was expecting to receive a bequest from a New York estate only to find out that the terms of a will had changed, will contests may be warranted. As a result, the probate process could become more complex.

It was recently reported that a will contest that occurred in another state recently came to a settlement. The conflict involved a college and a relative of a deceased individual. Apparently, the decedent was an alumnus of the college and had indicated that he would leave the remainder of his estate to the educational institution. As a result, the college was expecting a bequest of approximately $2 million.

Before the man’s death, he became ill, and his cousin took over his affairs through a power of attorney. During the period before the man’s death, a new will was drawn up that changed the terms of a previous will that named the college as the beneficiary of the estate. Instead, the new will left the estate to the man’s cousin and a former fiancee. This change resulted in the college contesting the new document and claiming that the cousin took advantage of the man during his time of illness. Before the case went to before a jury, however, the two sides came to an undisclosed settlement.

Will contests are not unusual when parties suspect that some sort of wrongdoing may have resulted in an unjustified change to the documents. In order to ensure that a decedent’s true intentions are honored, litigation may be necessary. If New York residents have concerns over similar incidents, they may wish to consult with knowledgeable attorneys about those concerns.