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Estate planning and administration: Who can contest a will?

Testators usually try to please all loved ones in a last will and testament. During estate planning and administration in New York, the question may arise of who is in a position to be able to contest a will? The short answer is not everyone. Those who can, however, must believe that if the terms of the will were to be accepted as written they would be  adversely affected personally and/or financially or those who have standing.

Heirs at law fit that bill. These people are closely related to the testator and those who would have inherited a portion of the estate if the deceased had died intestate, or without having written a will. This person could be a spouse, child or grandchild. The family member could be distant if the person didn't have close relatives.

If someone was named in an older will that was updated, he or she may have the right to inherit some of the assets mentioned in the newer will. The trick, though, is to prove that the newer will is invalid. Things become further complicated if the will includes a no contest clause that pertains to a beneficiary who chooses to contest a will. In doing so, the beneficiary loses what he or she was originally left in the will.

There are all kinds of issues pertaining to estate planning and administration documents. Legal advice may be necessary in order to decipher which documents mean what and what should be included in a comprehensive estate plan. A New York estate planning attorney can offer both guidance and advice to those wanting to ensure their estate plans are complete. 

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