What to do When Something is Wrong With the Will
Losing a loved one can be emotionally devastating no matter who you are. Unfortunately, many times the sadness that comes with having a loved one die quickly turns to anger, when it is discovered that something is wrong with the will. No one wants to have to dispute a will and most people prefer to think that the will is what best represents what their loved one wanted. However, there are some situations where contesting one is just unavoidable.
One thing that anyone who is considering contesting a will with or without the aid of a Long Island estate attorney needs to consider is that not every situation warrants having a will overturned, meaning not every case is appropriate. Having a will just not be fair is not enough, in itself at least, to get that will overturned. An example of this would be if someone left everything to the college they went to, rather than to their family members. In general, the Surrogate’s Courts in Suffolk and Nassau counties prefer to regard the will of the decedent of being actually representative of how it is that they wanted their property to be distributed.
That doesn’t mean that there are no ways to get a will overturned, however. Technical issues can be one way to have a will get overturned. One example of this is if a later will could be presented, if the signature on the will proved to be a forgery, or if there were not proper witnesses to the will’s signing.
There are other ways to get a will overturned as well when it comes to what the situation surrounding the signing of the will was. Some examples of this would be if the testator did not have the mental capacity to sign the will (such as if they were in the late stages of Alzheimer’s), when undue influence was used on them to change the will or when the decedent was threatened to change the will. Fraud is another thing that could be used to have a will overturned, such as when the testator was presented a will to sign and told it was a totally different document or when they were told the will contained specific bequests when that actually was not the case.
Whether trying to overturn a will for a technical or other issue, gathering evidence is the most essential part of being successful in your case and is the reason why a Long Island estate attorney is necessary to your case. For technical issues, you may need to track down witnesses to the will signing, later drafted wills or even handwriting experts to determine forgeries. For other types of issues, there must be strong evidence when it comes to the mental status of the testator, the relationship between that person and the person who supposedly pressured the testator to change the will or enacted the fraud. Some of the evidence needed here could be testimony from medical personnel or people familiar with the situation. Depending on the basis for wanting to have a will changed, there are very specific things that must be proven. To overturn a will successfully, don’t tackle your case alone. Hire a Long Island estate attorney to handle your claim. Call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (516) 777-0647.