A will is a legally binding document that has to be respected in New York, but that does not mean it can’t be challenged. In certain cases, family members feel that the will is unfair and needs to be thrown out. Common reasons include:
1. Saying that the will was drafted or amended while the person was under duress. The person has to make the will without outside influence or someone who is trying to force them to put in certain provisions.
2. Saying that the will is a forgery. In more extreme cases, a person may craft an entirely fake will, forge the person’s signature and try to pass it off as the real thing after that person’s death.
3. Saying that the person wasn’t mentally capable of drafting a will. This is usually an issue with those who suffer from mental diseases or deterioration as they age, seeing as how they may not be in the right mind to write a fair will that really reflects their desires.
4. Saying that there are multiple wills. In some cases, an older will may originally be used, but then someone may discover a new will that trumps whatever is written in the older one. This can be very important in cases with divorce, for example, when a spouse may be written out of the will.
5. Saying that there are not enough witnesses. A legal will can’t just be scrawled out by the person on his or her own, and it typically has to be signed by multiple witnesses to be a valid, legal document.
Those who think a will needs to be challenged have to know all of their legal options.
Source: FIndLaw, “Reasons to Challenge a Will,” accessed Oct. 21, 2015