Keeping a Westchester County Will From Being Overturned
Probably one of the most important things that most people have in mind when coming up with an estate plan is how to keep their will from ending up being the subject of a dispute between beneficiaries. For the executor of a will that is the subject of a contest, the ultimate goal is to successfully defend the will so that the wishes of the testator are met. For both of these, much of the same evidence needs to be gathered, preferably as part of drafting the will and estate plan with the assistance of a skilled Westchester estate attorney.
Key to keeping any will secure after the death of the testator is to make sure that it is executed free of errors in the first place. This means that hiring a Westchester estate attorney who knows the best way to draft and to execute a will is essential since that will drastically lower the chance of mistakes, like those that can happen if someone tries to write a will themselves. An attorney can also be sure that all of the requirements are met when it comes to having proper witnesses and such.
As for avoiding a will contest, someone planning an estate can also go a long way by having open communication as to what their wishes are and why they are writing their will in such a way. If, for example, someone does not want to leave as much of a gift to a child who is financially well off when another child is not, they should make sure to communicate that to them. One way to also help eliminate the chances of the will being contested is to add a clause into the will which would dictate that anyone who contests the will faces losing their entire gift under that will.
As for executors, the courts in New York view the will as being valid unless the one contesting it can prove other wise. However, this does not mean that no evidence needs to be gathered to keep the will secure. The best thing for an executor to do is to make sure that evidence is gathered that shows that the testator was mentally capable of making his or her will, such as with medical evidence, and knew what he or she was doing when the will was made. Evidence should also be gathered showing that the decision to change the will was one that the testator made without pressure from someone else.
Much of this evidence can also be gathered with the assistance of a Westchester estate attorney when someone is making their estate plan if they have a concern that someone may want to have the will overturned. An experienced estate attorney can help gather medical evidence and other documentation, including video evidence, if necessary, to show that the testator is changing the will voluntarily and has the mental capacity to make a will in the first place. Gathering such evidence is the best way to help assist the executor later down the road to make sure that the wishes of the person writing the will are followed.
If you are an Administrator or Executor who is looking for an estate attorney to defend a Will Contest in Westchester County, New York, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (914) 293-2043.