Do you have grounds to contest a will?

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2020 | Estate Planning |

If you have recently lost a loved one, it may take time to process your grief and learn to move on in life without him or her. Perhaps, like many other people in New York, your parent or grandparent died, and you and your siblings are navigating the probate process.

If you and your family members are entangled in a dispute regarding your parent or grandparent’s last will and testament, probate can be even more stressful and complicated. There is a difference between being disappointed with the contents of a will and having grounds to challenge one. If you believe you should do the latter, it’s a good idea to speak with someone who is well-versed in probate laws before heading to court.

Legitimate reasons for challenging a will

Every state, including New York, has regulations and laws that govern the estate planning process. When signing a will, a testator must adhere to the rules in his or her state. If you can prove that your loved one signed a will without adherence to state laws, you may have grounds to file a challenge.

A person signing a will or any other estate document must be of sound mind. If you have evidence to show that your mother or father suffered dementia or some other mental condition that would impede his or her capacity as a testator, the court may consider it a valid reason to contest.

Perhaps, you believe someone took advantage of your loved one or that he or she was under duress when signing a last will and testament. The court would want to have more than your word on the matter, but if you can show evidence that substantiates your claim, it may be grounds for a challenge.

Probate litigation issues can be complex

Did your loved one tell you that you were receiving a specific inheritance, but when the court informed you of the contents of the will, it did not coincide with what you were told? Numerous issues, like this example, can arise that would prompt you to challenge a will. Such situations can be emotionally upsetting, especially if you are in a dispute against other family members.

Such issues often cause irreparable damage to sibling relationships. It is helpful to reach out for legal support rather than trying to handle a probate issue on your own. Doing so may help solve the problem in a swift and amicable fashion, which may also help keep familial relationships intact.