and Your Family
New York How to Fight Probate in New York
Probate is the legal process by which a court determines the validity of a deceased person's will and oversees the distribution of their assets to beneficiaries. In New York, the probate process is governed by state law and can be a lengthy and complicated process. If you are a beneficiary who believes that a will is invalid, you may have grounds to challenge probate in New York. This can involve filing a legal challenge to the validity of the will based on a variety of grounds, including lack of capacity, undue influence, fraud, or improper execution. To fight probate in New York, you need an experienced New York probate lawyer who can help you navigate the complex legal process, gather evidence, and represent you in court.Steps to Fighting Probate In New York
Here are some steps you can take to fight probate in New York.
- File a Will Contest. If you believe that a will is invalid, you may be able to file a will contest. This is a legal challenge to the validity of the will, and it can be based on a variety of grounds, including lack of capacity, undue influence, fraud, or improper execution. To file a will contest, you will need to file a petition with the Surrogate's Court in the county where the deceased person resided.
- Gather Evidence. To support your case, you will need to gather evidence that supports your claims. This may include medical records, witness statements, and other documents that demonstrate the testator's lack of capacity or the presence of undue influence. Your attorney can help you obtain this evidence and present it in court.
- Attend the Court Hearing. Once you file a will contest, the court will schedule a hearing to review the evidence and make a decision. It is important that you attend the hearing, as this is your opportunity to present your case and argue why the will should be declared invalid. Your knowledgeable New York probate lawyer can help you prepare for the hearing and represent you in court.
- Consider a Settlement. In some cases, it may be possible to reach a settlement with the other parties involved in the probate process. This may involve agreeing to a different distribution of assets or a compromise on other issues.
The following four cases illustrate some of the legal issues and challenges involved in fighting probate, and they serve as a reminder of the importance of consulting with an experienced probate attorney in New York if you believe that a will is invalid.
- In re Estate of Hoskins, 38 Misc. 3d 1207(A) (N.Y. Sur. Ct. 2013). This case involved a challenge to the validity of a will based on undue influence. The court ultimately found that the evidence did not support the claim of undue influence and upheld the will.
- Matter of Swann, 232 A.D.2d 656 (N.Y. App. Div. 1996). In this case, the court considered a challenge to the validity of a will based on lack of testamentary capacity. The court ultimately found that the testator had the requisite capacity to execute the will and upheld the probate.
- In re Estate of Lapolla, 14 N.Y.3d 531 (N.Y. 2010). This case involved a challenge to the validity of a will based on fraud. The court ultimately found that the evidence did not support the claim of fraud and upheld the will.
- Matter of Estate of Paul, 73 N.Y.2d 1002 (N.Y. 1989). In this case, the court considered a challenge to the validity of a will based on the testator's failure to comply with certain formalities required by state law. The court ultimately found that the testator had substantially complied with the formalities and upheld the will.
Fighting probate in New York can be a complex and challenging process, but with the help of an experienced probate attorney serving New York, you can protect your rights and interests. If you believe that a will is invalid, it is important to act quickly, as there are strict deadlines for filing a will contest. With the right legal representation, you can navigate the probate process and achieve a favorable outcome. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Manhattan, Long Island, Nassau County, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Bronx, and Westchester County.