How to Handle a Contested Will


When someone passes away, their estate typically enters probate. During probate, the decedent’s assets are identified and distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the decedent’s estate plan. If the decedent did not execute an estate plan before they passed away, or their estate plan was flawed, the probate process may move into estate litigation.

One example of a flawed estate plan includes a will that is unclear. Learn how to handle a contested will during the estate litigation process.

What is a Contested Will?
A contested will occurs when there is a formal objection raised against the validity of a will, typically based on the belief that the will does not reflect the actual intent of the decedent or is otherwise invalid.

Conflicting or confusing language or the mention of beneficiaries that are no longer living or related to the decedent are two elements that may make a will contested. This is why it’s important to contact an experienced estate planning attorney when you begin thinking about your end-of-life care and wishes, as your attorney can ensure your will is worded and executed properly so there is no confusion among beneficiaries as to your true intent.

Beneficiaries cannot contest a will simply because they do not like the terms outlined in the document. Generally, a will may only be contested if one of the four following statements are true:

The will wasn’t signed in accordance with applicable state laws.

The decedent lacked the legal capacity to sign the will.

The decedent was unduly influenced when they signed the will.

The will was procured by fraud.

In order to handle a contested will, it’s in your best interest to contact a qualified estate litigation attorney who is knowledgable in applicable state laws and can ensure the wishes of the decedent are carried out as they intended.

At Sharova Civil Law, our Brooklyn attorneys are well-versed in this area of law, and we know how sensitive the estate planning process can be for families. We’ll help you move forward with compassion and understanding.

Consult with us about your estate dispute today – call 212-321-0741 for a free consultation.