Inheritance Lawyers in Jackson Heights, NY, Helping Clients Recover What They Deserve
When a loved one passes away, emotions are already running high. But then the estate enters probate. If there is no valid will for the decedent, then probate court can be very confusing and difficult. But even if a proper will was constructed, there still may be a reason to challenge the document. Beneficiaries may believe that they were owed more than what they were actually left in a will, or they may have reason to believe that the will was written under the undue influence of an outside party.
Whatever the case may be, there are those who do have the right to challenge a will and the inheritance as it has been laid out for them.
Whether you are looking to contest a will in estate litigation, are looking to avoid conflict with family during the probate process, or are drafting your will and want to reduce the chances of future disputes among your heirs, the attorneys of Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP would be happy to assist you. Our law firm has served the five boroughs of New York City for decades, providing compassionate and dedicated legal representation to New Yorkers just like yourself in matters of estate planning, probate court, wills, and trusts.
Who Has the Legal Right to Contest a Will as an Interested Party?
Although there may inevitably be countless people who may believe that they should have been included in the will of the recently departed, the laws are such that they do not allow anyone and everyone to contest a will in New York’s Surrogate’s Court. In order to have the right to contest a will, one must be an ‘interested party’ recognized by New York state law. The most common interested parties are heirs, such as a surviving spouse, any children, grandchildren, siblings, or surviving parents.
Interested parties could also include creditors, lenders, claimants, collection agencies, and fiduciaries who may have money wrapped up in the decedent’s estate or still be seeking money that they are owed.
Those who believe they would have inherited under a previous or yet-to-be written future wills may also have reason to contest the will. For example, if they can show that they have been disinherited, then they may have grounds to file a valid legal complaint.
What Are Grounds for Contesting a Will?
There is an abundance of reasons why someone might consider challenging a will. Obviously, to do so, one must either believe that they were wronged in some way or that their departed loved one was taken advantage of during the drafting of their will. But if they actually hope to succeed in their challenge, then they must have some legal grounds to contest the will.
Notable grounds for contesting a will in Jackson Heights, NY include:
- Improper Execution: If the will was not properly drafted, executed, and filed, then it may not be valid in a court of law. It is important for all estate plans to update their wills over the years in order to see to the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries. If the will has problems, they need to be fixed while the testator is among the living.
- Incapacitation: The creator of the will, the testator, must be able to understand the document they are committing their names to. If they are suffering from mental disabilities or are otherwise incapacitated, then the will may not be considered valid.
- Revocation: The will’s creator can destroy their will and have it replaced with a subsequent will at any time. If the will was revoked, then either a replacement will or no will at all shall come to take its place.
- Undue Influence: Every person’s Last Will and Testament must be their own, reflecting their own wishes for their estate and its beneficiaries. If it can be shown that undue influence was brought by another party to corrupt the drafting of the will, then it may not be valid.
Should You Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer?
As we’ve discussed, there are many reasons why someone may wish to contest a will, and certain specific grounds by which they may succeed in doing so. If you are looking to contest a will, then it is highly recommended that you seek the legal advice of a lawyer with experience in these estate matters.
Similarly, if you are looking to avoid litigation and difficult family dynamics in court, then a lawyer may be able to assist you in negotiations so that everyone may reach an agreeable settlement.
To ensure that your own will is properly constructed and your beneficiaries are taken care of as you intend them to be, please speak with an estate planning attorney about your wills and trusts. At Ortiz & Ortiz, our legal team will be able to assist you in all aspects surrounding your wills and estates.
Contact the Law Firm of Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP, to Schedule a Consultation Today
Inheritance disagreements can be among the most emotionally challenging legal disputes that any of us ever find ourselves involved in. Saying the wrong thing, pushing things too far, or walking away feeling like you have been judged to be less than your siblings and other family members can leave a scar that lasts a lifetime. With the help of one of our attorneys, we shall aim to assist you in coming to the most satisfactory resolution in your inheritance dispute case.
If you would like to speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your inheritance dispute concerns in Jackson Heights, you may call our law offices and schedule a consultation at any time.
Please contact us at 917-540-9772.