Navigating Disputes Over Wills
When a loved one passes away, their will is supposed to set forth their wishes regarding the assets they have worked so hard to build over a lifetime. More than that, it’s the directing document for following through on their legacy. Yet even the most carefully constructed wills are not always watertight. They can be susceptible to challenges by heirs, beneficiaries and other interested parties.
If you find yourself facing a will contest, whether as an executor, beneficiary or potential heir, you should seek out knowledgeable legal guidance. You will find capable allies at the law firm of Vella, Carbone & Vinson, LLP, in Delmar, New York. Our attorneys draw on more than seven decades of combined legal experience to help people navigate contested will proceedings and other types of estate litigation.
Grounds For Challenging A Will In New York
There are multiple grounds for contesting a will in New York. The most common include:
- Lack of testamentary capacity: The person who made the will (in legal terms, the testator) didn’t have the mental capacity to understand what they were doing. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are common examples of conditions that can interfere with testamentary capacity.
- Undue influence: Someone, usually a caregiver, has pressured the testator into changing their will in the caregiver’s favor, undermining the testator’s true intent.
- Fraud: Somebody misled the testator into signing a will or making dispositions they didn’t intend to make – for example, by lying to them about the nature of the document they were signing.
- Improper execution: The will doesn’t meet the technical requirements established by state law – for example, it lacks a signature and witnesses.
Protecting Your Interests At Trial
While not all will contests proceed to full-blown litigation, many do. Will contests often come with heated emotions and complex family dynamics. At Vella, Carbone & Vinson, LLP, we understand those complexities. Our lawyers understand how to navigate litigation in a strategic manner, with skill and clarity.
Whether you’re seeking to challenge or defend the will in question, you can count on our legal team to protect your interests both in court and in any settlement negotiations.