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Why would your New York will be contested and nullified?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2022 | Estate Planning

One of the primary reasons why people write wills is to create order while preventing conflicts from potential heirs. Done right, a will can give you peace of mind knowing that your assets will pass down to their rightful heirs after your death.

However, there are instances when a will can be a subject of unending conflicts. While some reasons for contesting a will may be based on greed and outright mischief, there are times when a will can fall short of the legal threshold, thus making it contestable.

Here are three valid reasons why your will can be contested during probate.

If the creator lacked the testamentary capacity

For a will to be duly created and signed, the testator must have the testamentary capacity to do so. Basically, this means that the testator must be at least 18 years old. Additionally, they must fully understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. A will can be successfully contested if it is established that the testator was suffering from a degenerative mental condition like dementia at the time of its creation.

If there was a fraud and/or undue influence

A will can also be contested if it was procured by fraud or undue influence. A will is considered fraudulent if it bears a signature that is different from the testator’s or the witnesses.

Undue influence, on the other hand, happens when someone manipulates or threatens the testator into including provisions in the will document that they would otherwise not include while acting freely. The ultimate goal of undue influence is usually to get the testator to create a will that benefits the abuser.

If the will was not witnessed

Under New York law, a will must be witnessed by two adults of sound mind who must also append their signatures on the document within 30 days from its creation. A lack of witness signatures can be sufficient ground for contesting a will. Find how you can protect your will from contests.