6 reasons why an estate plan might be invalid

The will is the backbone of the estate plan. Family members who meet specific requirements can challenge or contest the will if they don’t feel it is valid. Several factors can invalidate a will. Anyone who thinks that there is something wrong with the will should know some basic points about these reasons.

#1: The person wasn’t in his or her right mind

A testator can only make a will if mentally able to do so. An individual who is suffering from a debilitating mental health condition, such as dementia, likely couldn’t create a valid will. The person must understand the value of items in the will and how those assets will impact the heirs. If there is any reason to think that the person wasn’t capable of making and understanding the will, heirs that don’t agree with it might challenge it.

#2: It wasn’t properly witnessed

In New York, a will must include two witness signatures . Without these signatures, the will isn’t valid. The witnesses must be present when the testator signs the will. Alternatively, the testator might be able to affirm his or her signature to each witness independently. If the testator is unable to sign the will on his or her own, another person can sign for the person. The will must contain accurate information about this occurrence, or the will might be invalid. It is crucial that the signatures on the will are valid. Forgery is the basis of some will challenges.

#3: The testator’s residence is questioned

Even if the testator dies in another jurisdiction, the will must be valid in the testator’s primary legal residence. This is the place where the testator lives the majority of the time and receives mail. Several other factors might impact the testator’s legal residence.

#4: The will was signed under duress

A testator can’t have undue outside influence when making the will. This means that a will that is written up with specific terms that were due to threats or manipulation by a party in the will would be invalid. Often, this occurs when caregivers try to get included in a will in an attempt to make a personal profit.

#5: The will seems to have forgotten an heir

It is possible to leave someone out of a will, which is disinheriting the person. The will must include disinheritance information, or it is possible for the person left out to make a claim regarding being left out.

Reviewing other sources of will disputes

On this blog, we have covered many of the different factors that can play a role in will disputes, such as undue influence. However, it is important to keep in mind that will disputes have many other sources, especially if you are an executor or are a beneficiary who is concerned that assets are not being distributed properly. The New York law firm of Joseph A. Ledwidge understands how frustrating and complex these issues can be for beneficiaries and entire families in Jamaica, and other cities in the Empire State.

In addition to undue influence, wills may be contested for many other reasons. For example, a dispute may arise after a will is misplaced or because an additional will exists. In some cases, disagreements surround a will that some consider to be fraudulent, while other disputes center on the way an executor is managing the will. Whatever the cause of a dispute over a decedent’s will, these disagreements can result in a very trying time for families who are already struggling with a deep sense of loss.

If you are involved in similar disagreement, it is absolutely essential to analyze the individual details of your dispute. If possible, it is also important to do everything in your power to work through these challenges in a good-natured manner and avoid making the dispute even more difficult for everyone involved. If you visit our page which focuses on contesting a will, you will find more material on the topic of will disputes .

Safeguarding your inheritance

For families, the loss of a loved one can be an incredibly challenging time. Sadly, disagreements, misunderstanding and even unlawful actions can make a loved one’s passing even more upsetting. If you live in Jamaica, or another New York City, and are worried about losing inheritance that should belong to you, it is essential to understand your rights and immediately figure out the smartest course of action. At Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C., we know how devastating and confusing estate-related matters such as inheritance can be for people who already have a great deal of emotional pain.

When it comes to safeguarding your inheritance, there are a number of things you may want to keep in mind. For example, if your loved one did not have a will at the time of their death, you may have difficulty proving that certain assets should go to you. Furthermore, you could run into problems with the estate’s administrator, or the person who is responsible for distributing and appraising the assets of the estate.

Regardless of the nature of your problems, you should be prepared to stand firm and fight for inheritance that rightfully belongs to you. By having an idea of what to expect, carefully moving forward and addressing any legal issues appropriately, you may be able to gain an end result that is more favorable.

On our page which focuses on estate administration, you can browse through more material concerning safeguarding your inheritance and other topics concerning the assets of an estate .

Young adults and estate planning

When it comes to estate planning, some people decide to avoid these matters at younger ages. In fact, some even think that estate issues  should not be addressed until an older age. However, in Jamaica, New York, and all parts of the U.S., adults of all ages should understand the importance of estate planning.

In recent years, a number of problems have made life challenging for many people in their 20s and 30s. Aside from burdensome student loan debt, many younger Americans have also experienced financial woes due to the recession. As people in this age group begin to have children and take on significant responsibility, it is vital for them to handle their finances properly and look ahead.

By successfully handling estate planning issues, younger adults and people of all ages could enjoy various benefits. For example, if they become severely debilitated, which can happen at any age, an estate plan could lay out how their care will be administered. Moreover, if they unexpectedly pass away at a young age, having an estate plan in place could make life significantly easier for their loved ones and is especially important for those who have children.

For those who are taking a first look at estate planning, it is crucial to take the smartest approach. Additionally, those who have found themselves in charge of an estate should know their responsibilities and carefully handle their duties. Making sense of estate-related affairs can be complicated at times, which is why many people have turned to an experienced legal professional.

Source : USA Today, ” Millennials, don’t forget estate planning, ” Winnie Sun, Mar. 10, 2017

How to prevent challenges to your last will and estate

When you go through the effort of creating a last will and estate plan, you expect that your family members and heirs will respect your wishes. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to contest a last will, claiming they expected to receive more than you allotted for them.

Obviously, you have put a lot of thought and planning into who receives what and the final distribution of your assets. There may be certain people that you are intentionally not leaving anything for. Conversely, other people may need more support, inspiring you to leave a significant amount of your assets for them.

Whatever your reasoning, your assets are just that: yours. You worked hard your whole life to accumulate your belongings and money, and you deserve to decide how it is distributed after you die. Having someone contest your last will is not only disrespectful of you, it could harm those who you are hoping to protect and provide for with your estate. Don’t let that happen to you! Speak with an experienced probate law and estate planning attorney to ensure that your last will be upheld by the courts as your attorney wrote it and you intended.

Special language can prevent people from contesting your estate

Careful preparation is one of the best ways to prevent issues with your estate and last will . You need to work with an attorney who understands the rules. Preparing a last will with the help of an attorney is the best way to ensure your estate’s handling is as you desire, but sometimes people can take issue with your decisions. Your attorney can help you create language within your last will specifically intended to prevent people listed as heirs from suing or otherwise contesting your estate in the courts. It can be as simple as including a clause that disinherits anyone who tries to legally challenge your last will.

Once you complete your last will, you can decide if you want your potential heirs to know about the clause against court challenges. That can immediately remove the incentive for your heirs and family members to try to fight for a larger portion of your assets or estate. Alternatively, you can choose to not inform them of that clause, which means those who decide to contest your estate will very likely lose whatever they were originally going to inherit from you. No amount of legal bargaining can remove that clause from your last will.

An attorney can help protect your estate plan

Working with an attorney who understands New York estate and probate law is the best way to ensure your last will is executed as you intended it to be. Your attorney can also help after you pass on by working closely with the executor of your estate to fulfill your last wishes.

Long-term care and estate planning

When it comes to estate planning, there are a multitude of matters that you may have to take into consideration. For example, you may look for ways to reduce the tax burdens associated with your estate and deciding how your assets will be split up after you pass away. However, there are other issues you may want to examine, such as long-term care. At Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C., our firm understands how complicated these topics can be for residents of Jamaica, New York.

While estate plans dictate how assets will be distributed upon a person’s death, long-term care planning can lay out how assets will be split up while the person is still alive (if they require long-term care). If you or your marital partner ever have to live in an assisted care facility or require long-term care, planning ahead can help you stretch your money further and simplify your life during these times.

For some people, looking ahead and envisioning death or long-term care can be challenging. However, those who have taken steps to protect their assets through estate planning may have more peace of mind during this phase of life. Moreover, long-term care can be incredibly expensive and those who are ready to take on the costs associated with care may be able to lessen the financial impact. If you do not plan ahead, your estate may not distributed according to your wishes.

On our page dedicated to estate administration , you will find additional information related to estate planning.