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Key factors for contesting a will

Wills are meant to provide people with a way to designate their assets after their passing. Though this proves to be quite useful in many cases, there are some instances where specific impeding factors negatively alter or improperly affect such decisions.

In those situations, it may be possible to contest the will. There are a few factors you should be aware of to handle this process correctly.

Probate

Many are not aware of the fact that a will must go through the courts to become legally binding. After the individual passes, the executor of the estate must file the will along with a probate petition to Surrogate's Court. The New York state court system provides information and forms for filing a petitioning for probate. The heirs of the estate, or distributees, must be on the petition, and they receive a notice of the probate. 

Contesters

Two groups of individuals may contest a will: distributees and beneficiaries. Distributees are individuals who usually receive an inheritance when there is no will. This includes spouses and children. Beneficiaries are individuals whose names appear in a will. A party must fit into one of these categories to have a legal argument.

Grounds

There are a few different grounds for a will contest. Some of the main reasons include:

  • Improper will execution
  • Deceased lacking the capacity to create a will
  • Undue influence
  • Will fraud

These are just a few of the possible grounds for contesting. For those considering a will contest, it may be beneficial to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about the possible options and chances of winning the case.

The execution of a will is a delicate topic, and the courts do not take the responsibility lightly. Make sure you understand the legal standing regarding wills and how it may affect your situation, so you may make the best decision for you and your loved ones.

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