When New York family members have concerns over the contents of their loved ones’ estate plans, it is not unusual for legal action to result. In some cases, will contests can help surviving family members ensure that any information in the documents reflects the true wishes of the deceased. It is also possible for such contests to arise when new documents are discovered.
It was recently reported that this type of situation is currently affecting the estate of late singer Aretha Franklin. Apparently, three handwritten wills were discovered in Franklin’s home, two of which were dated 2010 and another dated 2014. It was unclear who discovered these documents. Nonetheless, the personal representative for Franklin’s estate presented the documents to legal counsel for the heirs, and now, proceedings are set to determine their validity.
A court hearing is set for next month to determine whether the handwritten documents are valid, but two of Franklin’s sons have already decided to contest the documents. It is unclear what effect these documents will have on the overall estate or whether the handwritten wills even comply with the law. These and other issues will undoubtedly be addressed during the upcoming court hearing.
The discovery of new documents can easily cause any probate case to become more complicated. Of course, handwritten or not, it is important that all documents are reviewed and their impacts on the estate properly assessed. If New York residents have concerns about such documents or would like more information on will contests, it may be useful to discuss such subjects with knowledgeable attorneys.