Hudson Valley
Estate Planning

Secure Your Legend

Avoiding Will Contests in New York

The number of wills being contested during probate is on the rise in New York. Unfortunately, will contests lead to extensive litigation costs for estates and strife in the family of the deceased. Here are five steps you can take to ensure your will is not contested:

  • Sign a will ASAP. Will contestants often argue that the deceased lacked mental capacity when signing the will. As a result, before any potential age-related loss of mental capacity due to Alzheimer’s or dementia, you should soon sign a will that expresses your wishes for the distribution of your wealth.
  • Use witnesses without a financial interest. New York law requires your will signing to be witnessed by two individuals. To avoid a will contest on the grounds that one of your witnesses unduly influenced you to sign the will, use two witnesses who will not inherit under your will but know you and your mental capacity.
  • Use witnesses likely to survive you. In the event that your will is contested, living witnesses can testify regarding your mental capacity at the will signing.
  • Tell your witnesses what they are witnessing. It is an odd and often-forgotten New York requirement that you must tell your witnesses that they are witnessing you sign your will.
  • Inform your executor where you keep your signed will. In your will, you will assign an executor to carry out your wishes in the will. Be sure to tell this person where you store your will so that it can easily be retrieved when you pass on. Otherwise, if your will cannot be found, a court will presume it was revoked, making a prior will you may have signed effective.

Book a free consultation today to secure your legend with a properly executed will.