Q. How do I prove my objections to the will of my deceased relative?

I believe that this will is a fraud and a product of undue influence. What must I prove to the court?


Answer

Challenging a will is called a will contest. A recent decision summarizes what must be proved:

"Will challenges tend to be very fact-specific, but the legal analysis is straightforward. First, the proponent of the will must introduce facts showing both due execution and the competency of the testator. Cf., 2 Harris N.Y. Estates 24:195. To defeat the motion, the Objectant must either (1) identify material facts that contradict the showing on due execution or competence; or (2) identify material facts that tend to show undue influence, fraud and/or coercion. Allegations must be specific and detailed, substantiated by evidence in the record; mere conclusory assertions will not suffice. See Iselin & Co. v. Mann Judd Landau, 71 N.Y.2d 420 (1988) (affirming grant of summary judgment); Matter of Neuman, 14 A.D.3d 567 (2d Dept. 2005) (reversing denial of summary judgment)." Matter of Tsinopoulos, NYLJ, July 28, 2020 [Sur Ct, Rockland County 2020]

See EPTL 3-2.1 for the requirements of due execution.

 

  • Last Updated Jul 30, 2020
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