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Do you have legal grounds to contest a will?

| Nov 9, 2020 | Wills |

New York residents like you may feel overwhelmed when dealing with estate litigation for the first time. This is particularly true of wills, which often have complex laws even in the best of scenarios.

And in the worst of scenarios? You may find yourself facing the possibility of having to contest a will. But first, how do you know you have legal grounds to contest?

Third parties take advantage of cognitive impairments

The Balance looks at common legal grounds to contest a will. There are a few examples that come up over and over again. The first has to do with the cognitive abilities of the testator. Some testators are not of sound mind in the latter part of their life. This could mean their will is not legally valid. How? Because you must possess your faculties when you sign it. If you believe the testator did not possess cognitive clarity at the time they signed their will, you have legal ground to contest.

Potential manipulative tactics

The same goes for tactics that rely on cognitive impairments. For example, some third parties try to coerce a change in the will through undue influence. They use manipulation to get the testator to change their will in a way that suits them. Another example of manipulation involves obtaining a signature through fraud. This often happens when a third party presents a will as an unrelated document and gets the testators signature that way.

Of course, in some situations, it is as simple as a testator not following state laws when it comes to signing their will. In New York, two reliable witnesses who are not beneficiaries must witness the signing. If the testator does not do this, the law does not consider the will valid.

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