Wills written by New Yorkers aren’t always probated as smoothly as possible following the deaths of the testators. In some cases, survivors and beneficiaries get into legal spats over the validity of wills and other estate documents. Valid concerns such as potential fraud, the mental state of the testator or the existence of other wills can all be used to initiate disputes that impact the process of distributing the testator’s property.
In some instances, beneficiaries feel that certain individuals used undue influence to manipulate or even bully testators into writing wills that benefit them unjustly. These parties may employ numerous techniques to obtain will terms that work to their advantage, such as restricting access to a weakened, dying individual or convincing them that other potential beneficiaries bear them ill will. Such actions can jeopardize otherwise amicable family relationships, make it harder to come to terms with tragic loss and impede the correct execution of a will.
Because lost wills, incorrect estate administration and improper will execution can all lead to unjust outcomes, most courts have established mechanisms by which people can dispute wills. When wills go through probate to have their validity confirmed before property is distributed, beneficiaries can choose to negotiate or litigate in order to protect their due entitlements.
Will disputes can be complex, so it’s important that they’re managed properly. Failing to negotiate terms that everyone can agree on could seriously delay the distribution of estate assets or benefits, and entering litigation without an appropriate plan may result in legal expenses that cut into the costs of any benefits you ultimately receive. For more information on how to ensure all beneficiaries receive equitable proceeds after losing their loved ones, visit our page on will contests .