Challenging a will: Who can do it?

by | Jul 5, 2018 | Probate Litigation |

It is an unfortunate reality that when a New Yorker dies, there could be a legal dispute regarding their estate. However, people considering challenging a will might not know who has the right to do so. For example, a person who believes there should have been a bigger share awarded and is unhappy with how the property was allocated cannot simply challenge the will because of that and expect changes to be made.

There are reasons that a will can be challenged, and it is critical to understand them before moving forward. The challenge must be for valid legal reasons and done by an interested person. These include spouses, children, heirs, creditors, devisees, or anyone else with a property right. There are three basic categories of those who can make this challenge: beneficiaries in a previous will; beneficiaries in a subsequent will; or heirs if the person died without a will.

To contest a will, a person must have standing. If the person can show that they should have been named in the will and were not, then this provides sufficient standing. Beneficiaries will generally have standing to challenge the will independent of whether they were related to the person who died or not. Heirs can challenge a will when the testator died intestate and they would have received a portion of the estate.

Making the decision to move forward with challenging a will and embarking on a legal dispute can be a tough choice. In many instances, it is necessary for a variety of reasons. A law firm that is experienced in all forms of estate litigation can help people who are seeking to contest a will.