In New York State, in order to contest a person’s Last Will and Testament, the challenger must have the right to do so. This right is known as “standing”.
A challenger has standing under the following circumstances:
- When he or she has been named as a beneficiary in the will or a prior will; or
- When the challenger would be entitled to a share of the estate had the decedent died without a Will (called “intestacy”). Under the intestacy statute, generally, those entitled to object are the closest living heirs of the decedent.
If you are concerned that your Last Will and Testament will be challenged upon your passing, you should confer with your Estate Planning attorney to determine the appropriate plan for you.
For example, an individual who is concerned that his or her will might be challenged may choose to set up a Trust. That way, upon his or her passing there, will likely be no reason to probate the decedent’s Last Will and Testament, thus making it more difficult to challenge.
In addition, the Estate Planning attorney may include a no contest provision in your Last Will and Testament. The purpose of this clause is to deter an individual from challenging the Last Will and Testament, since the provision stipulates that if that individual challenges the Last Will and Testament and later loses the challenge, he or she will forfeit any share they may have been entitled to.
If you have questions or concerns about a challenge to your estate planning or Will, please contact us.