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Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1410: Who May File Objections to Probate of an Alleged Will

Unless there is reason to believe otherwise, when a will is filed with the New York Surrogate’s Court, the judge will admit it to probate. The assumption is that the will is a reflection of the testator’s wishes. However, if someone believes that the will is invalid because it does not reflect the true wishes of the testator, there is a process for objecting to the probating of that will. Under Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1410, Who may file objections to probate of an alleged will, part of the process is that only certain individuals have the right to file objections. If you have reason to believe that a will of a loved one is invalid, contact an experienced New York will challenge lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss you concerns.

Related statutory provisions
  1. Proceeding to compel production of will: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1401
  2. Who may propound will;  contents of petition;  direction of court: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1402
  3. Witnesses to be examined;  proof required: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1404
Who may file objections to probate of an alleged will

While of a variety of reason there may a long list of individuals who feel that a will does not reflect the wishes of the decedent, under Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1410, Who may file objections to probate of an alleged will, only those who would be adversely affected by the admission of the will to probate have the legal right to file objections. Such individuals are referred to as interested parties. Interested parties include:

  • Legal heirs. A legal heir is anyone who would inherit the decedent’s assets if the will is declared invalid. If the will is not valid and there is not a prior valid will, then according to New York law the decedent’s legal heirs will inherit the decedent’s probate property based on the rules of intestate succession. Legal heirs may include the surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, grandparents, and other relatives.
  • Prior will beneficiary. Someone who was left out of the will that is being objected to, but was a beneficiary in a prior will would have standing to object. Such a person would have standing because if the court determines that the will is indeed invalid, then the prior will may be probated instead.
Procedure for filing objections

New York has strict rules as to when objections to a will must be filed. Objections to a will must be filed no later than the return day of the process, or the date given by the Surrogate’s Court. If an examination is required, then objections must be filed within 10 days after the examination.

To ensure that your objection is timely filed and that all other procedural requirements are followed, contact an experienced will challenge attorney in New York.

Reasons for challenging a will

Because of the emotions that often accompany the death of a loved one and the settling of a loved one’s estate, it is not unusual for relatives to be surprised, angry, and sad when they learn about the contents of that decedent’s will. Those who are not left what they expected or hoped for may feel that the will must be fraudulent. In New York, not only must you have standing to file an objection to a will, you must also have grounds. Legal grounds for objecting to a will include:

  • Improper execution. To be valid, a will must be executed with all of the formalities required by New York, including the property signatures and witnesses.
  • Forgery. A forged will is not valid. The signatures of the testator as well as the witnesses must be authentic
  • Lack of testamentary capacity. If there is evidence that the testator suffered from a mental incapacity at the time he or she executed the will, then the will would not be valid.
  • Duress or undue influence. As a New York will challenge attorney will explain, if the testator was illegally influenced to make a will that was favorable to the influencer, the will would not be valid.
Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1410. Who may file objections to probate of an alleged will

Any person whose interest in property or in the estate of the testator would be adversely affected by the admission of the will to probate may file objections to the probate of the will or of any portion thereof except that one whose only financial interest would be in the commissions to which he would have been entitled if his appointment as fiduciary were not revoked by a later instrument shall not be entitled to file objections to the probate of such instrument unless authorized by the court for good cause shown.  The objections must be filed on or before the return day of the process or on such subsequent day as directed by the court;  provided however that if an examination is requested pursuant to 1404, objections must be filed within 10 days after the completion of such examinations, or within such other time as is fixed by stipulation of the parties or by the court.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are an interested party in dispute over of the validity of the will of a loved one, it is important that your are represented by an experienced will challenge attorney serving clients in New York. With over two decades of experience, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have the skill, resources, and knowledge to help you through the legal complexities related to a will challenge. If you have questions or concerns related to the requirements of New York SPCA section 1410, who may file objections to probate o an alleged will, or any other estate matter, contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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