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Experienced New York Trust and Estate Attorneys Litigate Will Contests

Circumstances may arise that suggest a will is not valid or does not accurately reflect a testator’s wishes. In those instances, we may challenge the will and restore your loved one’s intent. At the Cormac McEnery Law Firm, we have more than 35 years of experience addressing will contests. We defend estates against will challenges from disappointed beneficiaries, and we represent plaintiffs with concerns that a will may be invalid.

Grounds to challenge a will in New York

To be valid, a will must be voluntary, properly executed, contain clear instructions and legally enforceable. Grounds for invalidating a will, in whole or in part, depend on proving one or more of the following:

  • Flawed execution — A will must be written, signed and witnessed. It must be clear in its intent, and it must not violate the law or public policy.
  • Undue influence and coercion — A will must be voluntary. When a person with access to the testator uses some type of leverage to override the testator’s free will, the resulting document may not be not valid.
  • Lack of mental capacity — A testator must be of sound mind. An elderly person, suffering from dementia, who cannot understand the significance of the will, cannot form a valid will.
  • Fraud — Fraud arises when someone tricks the testator into signing a document that does not reflect the testator’s wishes.

When possible, the court tries to preserve the valid provisions of a will. For instance, if a caregiver, during the testator’s final months, coerced the testator into adding a codicil that favored the caregiver to the detriment of other beneficiaries, the court could invalidate the codicil and execute the remainder of the will.

Obtain legal assistance from an experienced trust and estate attorney

Wills contests can be costly and time consuming, and entail challenging family dynamics. Before you initiate a will challenge, consult an estate litigation attorney. At our firm, you’ll receive experienced, candid advice based on decades of practice.

If you have questions about will contests, speak to an estates attorney

The Cormac McEnery Law Firm provides legal representation for estates and beneficiaries in will contests and other estate disputes. We serve clients throughout the five boroughs of New York City, and Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties.