Want to Contest a Will in New York? Here is What You Need to Know
Who can Challenge a Will?
Not everyone is able to challenge a will in New York. To do so you must either be a distributee or a beneficiary.
A distributee is an heir at law, meaning these are individuals who would receive a portion of the deceased's estate if there was no will in place. Distributees can contest a will if it provides less than what the distributee would have received if the deceased did not leave behind a will.
Beneficiaries on the other hand, are individuals the deceased named in the will to receive a certain portion of their property. Beneficiaries can contest a will when it provides them less property than they would have received under a previous will.
Grounds for Contesting a Will
Individuals can only contest wills under specific circumstances.
● Undue execution: In New York, there are very specific requirements for writing and executing a will. When these rules are not followed, it is proper grounds to contest a will.
● Revocation: A person may revoke their will, meaning they want it to be deemed invalid, whether or not they create another will. A revoked will is no longer valid and so, it can be challenged.
● Fraud: If the deceased was the victim of fraud when creating the will, individuals can contest that will. For example, a person may make false representations to the testator (the person making the will) so that the testator will leave more property to them and not the other beneficiary.
● Undue influence: If the testator was placed under undue influence when creating their will, this is grounds to challenge the will. For example, if someone threatened to harm the testator or his or her family if they were not included in the will, this is proper grounds to contest the will.
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