Is a will contestable in New York?

Unless you went to law school like we did, you’re probably like a majority of people across New York and only have a basic understanding of the law. Unfortunately, a basic understanding of the law does you little good when it comes to really important legal matters, such as drafting an estate plan. That’s because not knowing the specifics of the law means you are likely to make costly mistakes — ones that could be avoided if you fully understood the law or had obtained a lawyer’s services.

If you’re like a lot of our more frequent readers, then you may have found our blog because you were looking for information about the estate planning process. If this is the case for you, then you’ll want to keep reading because in today’s post, we’re going to answer a question that commonly comes up regarding estate plans:

Is a will contestable in New York?

The answer is yes. That’s because our state laws offer beneficiaries and loved ones of a decedent the opportunity to challenge what was or was not accounted for in a will. Called contesting a will, the process of challenging a will is intricate and requires extensive knowledge of the law. Because most people don’t know probate law forward and backward, getting a lawyer is considered a good idea in this instance.

In a post earlier this year, as some of our frequent Brooklyn readers may remember, we discussed ways in which a testator can help mitigate the chances of having their will contested after they pass on. But as you can probably imagine, there are times in which contesting a will may be necessary, such as:

  • If a testator drafts their will under duress
  • If they lack the mental capacity to effectively draw up a will
  • If they are under undue influence
  • If they do not draft a will in accordance with state law

As we said above, contesting a will is not a process most people are affluent in. A skilled estate planning attorney is though, which is why contacting one prior to litigation is never a bad idea.

Source: The New York Bar Association, “Will Contests,” Accessed July 1, 2015

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