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.