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For Estate Planning, Estate Administration And Disputes

What should you know before challenging someone’s will?

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2019 | Firm News |

If you wish to challenge the validity of someone’s New York will, you need to have legally sustainable grounds to do so. Simply disagreeing with the decedent’s distribution of his or her assets is not sufficient. 

FindLaw explains that to successfully challenge a will, you must allege one or more of the following: 

  • That the decedent had insufficient testamentary capacity to make the will 
  • That the will was improperly or insufficiently executed 
  • That the decedent was under the undue influence of someone else at the time (s)he created the will 
  • That you know of and can produce the original of another will the decedent made that supersedes the will you are challenging 
  • That the will you are challenging is forged or fraudulent 

Testamentary capacity 

Testamentary capacity means that the testator (the person making the will) had sufficient mental ability to understand all of the following things at the time (s)he made his or her will: 

  • The fact that (s)he was fact making a will 
  • The overall nature and extent of his or her assets and property 
  • The existence, names and relationships of his or her family members 
  • The people who (s)he was designating as heirs 
  • The asset(s) (s)he was bequeathing to each person and the approximate value thereof 
  • The way in which these bequests would affect other family members 

Undue influence 

Undue influence means that at the time (s)he made his or her will, the testator was under such strong influence on the part of someone else that the will’s bequests reflect that person’s wishes rather than the independent wishes of the testator. 

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.