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Challenging a will based on testamentary capacity in New York

When a New Yorker creates a will, there are times when its legality will be challenged. To move forward with a will contest, there must be a good reason to do so. Challenging a will can be very difficult, but when there is a legal dispute, it is not impossible to have a will declared invalid if there is a justifiable reason for doing so. Knowing the various aspects of why a will can be contested successfully is important. One issue that might arise is a lack of testamentary capacity.

According to the law, a person can only make a will if he or she is legally an adult age 18 or older. This is testamentary capacity. A minor does not have the capacity to create a will. There is a presumption of testamentary capacity in an adult 18 older. If there is a challenge to a person's testamentary capacity, there must be a reason for it. These might include a person being declared insane, being under the influence, lacking the mental capacity to create a valid will, being senile, or having dementia.

To challenge the will due to mental capacity issues, the person who takes out the will must be shown not to have understood the ramifications of making the will. For the will to be valid, the person is required to have understood the following: the property and its value; the identity of the beneficiaries and who is supposed to be provided for; the disposition of the property and what it means to make a will; and how these factors are connected to property being distributed after the testator's death.

For those who are considering a will contest because of a lack of testamentary capacity, it is vital to understand the criteria for this to be viable. When trying to contest a will or trying to assist someone whose testamentary capacity might be called into question, a legal professional who is experienced in estate litigation is essential.

Source: estate.findlaw.com, "Reasons to Challenge a Will -- Testamentary Capacity," accessed on Aug. 8, 2017

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