Jump to Navigation

A will contest can result in a significant delay in the distribution of a loved one's assets, and can also be expensive. The costs of a will contest are paid out of the estate, which may significantly deplete the available funds. If you are concerned that a will may be subject to a will contest, contact our firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced probate and estate administration attorney.

Thank you for contacting Greenfield Stein & Senior, LLP. Your message has been sent.

Call us now

or use the form below.

Will Contests

The fact that a person leaves a will does not guarantee that her or his property will be distributed according to the will's terms. A court generally must provide an opportunity to allow others to object to the will, and a legal challenge, called a will contest, may be brought by anyone with an interest in the will who believes it is invalid.

If you believe a will is invalid, or if someone is challenging a will you are administering or benefiting from, an attorney with experience in will contest cases can help. Greenfield Stein & Senior, LLP can assist you with this type of difficult and emotionally-charged case and can advise you on how to proceed under NY law.

Grounds for contesting a will include:

  • Later Will. If a later will was made, and the making of the will conformed to the necessary legal requirements, then the later will replaces the earlier will.
  • Incapacity. A valid will requires that the decedent was of sound mind at the time the will was made. The "sound mind" requirement typically requires that at the time the will was made, the decedent had the ability to generally understand the nature and extent of the property to be disposed, his or her relationship to those who would naturally claim a benefit from the will, and the practical effect of the will as executed. Proving that the decedent was mentally ill or under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time the will was made are ways to establish incapacity.
  • Undue Influence. If at the time the will was made, the decedent did not exercise his or her judgment in making the will, but rather made the will according to the wishes of another, the will may be found invalid on the grounds of undue influence. Coercion, duress and fraud are examples of undue influence.
  • Improper Execution. A will must be properly executed in order to be valid. This requires that the creation and the execution of the will conform to the state's requirements, which can include the will having to be in writing and signed by the person making the will (the testator) and that the will be witnessed or notarized.
  • Forgery. A will can be found invalid if any portion of the will, including any terms of the will or the signature of the testator or the witnesses, are determined to be forged.

There is a limited amount of time set by state statute to challenge the validity of the will on one of these grounds. If the validity of a will is successfully contested, the probate court may:

  • Disallow only that part of the will that is successfully challenged
  • Admit an earlier valid will (if one was made) in its place
  • Determine that the decedent died intestate and distribute the assets according to the state's intestate succession laws, which are the legal default rules for estates without a will

Speak to a Probate Lawyer

The consequences of a will contest are significant for all of the parties involved. If there is the possibility of a will contest, contact Greenfield Stein & Senior, LLP in New York, NY, to schedule a consultation with an attorney experienced in probate and estate administration who can help to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.

Copyright © 2015 FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Back to Main

Tell Us About Your Case...

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close
We Take A Little Different Approach From Other Law Firms

We pride ourselves on providing our clients with quality legal representation in the courtroom in a variety of areas, including cases that few other firms will handle... more...

For Current NY Estate Litigation News, Visit Our Blog
How Can We Help?

Greenfield Stein & Senior, LLP
600 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10016-1901
Tel: (212) 818-9600 Fax: (212) 818-1264

One North Lexington Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
Tel: (914) 948-3070