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Safeguarding Your Will and Estate Plan from Legal Challenges

Safeguarding Your Will and Estate Plan from Legal Challenges by Frank Buquicchio

A recent meeting with one of my clients caused me to think about what it means to contest a will. Some people have misconceptions about who can mount a challenge to a person’s will or estate plan, and how those documents can be protected from such a challenge. 

Only spouses and children (known as legal heirs) have the right to challenge a will or estate plan under New York law. For example, if I was married with three children, my wife, and three children would be my legal heirs. I would still be free to leave my assets to whomever I wish, but my heirs will always have a legal right to contest the will. 

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Lessons from Whitney Houston’s Will and Bobbi Kristina’s Death

 

The tragic death of Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston’s only child, has left her estate in limbo.

Houston’s will left the entirety of her estate, including jewelry, clothing, cars, record profits and music royalties, in a spendthrift trust to the sole heir, Bobbi Kristina. The provisions of this trust stated that Bobbi Kristina would receive the distributions in three installments: 1/10 at age 21, 1/6 to be received at age 25, and the remainder of the estate upon her turning 30. Based on these provisions, Bobbi Kristina was only entitled to 1/10 of the estate when she died since she was only 22 years old at the time of her passing.

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