30 Years Experience Representing Clients Like You
Long Island Will Contest Lawyer
Long Island is a densely populated island that stretches from east of Manhattan Island into the Atlantic Ocean. It has four counties, two of which are also boroughs of New York City. It has a population of around 7.647 million and, as measured across the world, is the 17th most populous island. In Suffolk County, one of four counties on Long Island, 14.5% of the population is age 65 or older. Meanwhile in Nassau County, 15.8% of the population is at least age 65. However, you can be any age and be affected by the provisions of another’s will. Will contests are challenges to last will and testaments. If you need to bring or defend against a will contest, you should discuss your situation with our seasoned Long Island estate litigation attorney Jules Haas. He has more than three decades of experience handling these matters and may be able to represent you.Will Contests
Whether you are a proponent of a last will and testament or seek to invalidate it, you should be aware there are different grounds upon which it can be contested on Long Island. Whichever party seeks to have the will’s provisions invalidated will need to establish at least one of these grounds. When retained to file a will contest, we examine the circumstances of our clients’ cases and raise every available ground to challenge the will. Conversely, however, if you are a client who hopes to preserve the will as written, we will need to guard against the objectant establishing there are grounds to invalidate it.
Sometimes testators include no contest clauses in their wills. These are limits that void testamentary gifts when a beneficiary contests the will. In other words, if you are a beneficiary of a will and you file an unsuccessful contest in Surrogate’s Court and there is such a clause in the will, you lose your entitlement to any bequest the decedent had specified for you in the terms of the instrument. This is one reason it is critical to retain a seasoned lawyer to examine the documents and the facts of your specific situation to determine the best course of action.
Common grounds for will contests on Long Island, and elsewhere are improprieties in execution, undue influence, and lack of testamentary capacity.Improper Execution of a Will
Proper execution of a will is critical to its enforcement. When the required steps have not been followed, a will contest in Surrogate’s Court will be successful. If a Long Island lawyer is able to show that the legally mandated steps were not taken in executing the will, he may be able to challenge its provisions successfully. For instance, if our firm can show that the decedent did not sign the will in front of two witnesses, the will may not hold up in court. Generally, however, when a lawyer has supervised a will’s execution, there is a presumption of regularity in its execution.Undue Influence
Claims of undue influence can result in heated litigation on Long Island. When a will is found to be produced by undue influence, a will can be invalidated. The person seeking to invalidate the will must show that there was motive, a chance to unduly influence, and actual use of undue influence upon the testator. The undue influence must rise to the level of coercion that restricts free will and the decedent’s independent action. Inquiring into whether a will is the result of undue influence is a fact-intensive process. Whether a lawyer is raising this ground to challenge a will, or seeking to show that it does not apply, he will need to look closely at the particular situation.Testamentary Capacity
Another grounds to challenge a will on Long Island is lack of testamentary capacity. When the decedent signed the will, he must have had the capacity to do so. The court will look at whether the decedent understood the consequences and nature of making the will, the extent and nature of the property he was disposing of, and the natural objects of his or her bounty and relations with them. The natural objects of a decedent’s bounty aren’t necessarily his or her heirs.Consult a Seasoned Will Contests Law Firm
Often, a loved one’s death and the probating of a will gives rise to intense emotions. Sometimes Long Island heirs are angry at what a will specifies. A successful challenge to a will typically requires the careful insight and judgment of a lawyer. Proof must be made of the grounds to invalidate a will, and these grounds are limited. Jules Haas may be able to represent you in a will contest, whether you seek to invalidate or uphold another’s will. Mr. Haas represents clients in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Kings, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. Call him now for a free confidential review at (212) 355-2575 or contact him through our online form. We provide a reasonable and flexible fee arrangement and personal representation.