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Wills and Trusts Objections and Contests

What is a will or trust contest?

A will contest is a formal objection raised against the validity of a will which argues that the document does not reflect the actual intent of the person who made it. Similarly, a trust contest is a formal objection raised against the validity of a trust, which argues that the existing document does not accurately reflect the intent of the settler (person who made the trust). Our attorneys are not only trained in handling simple estate probate matters, we take care of complex estate litigation in the event of a contest or fraud in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, Bronx, Westchester, Richmond County, Manhattan and Brooklyn Kings County New York.

Typically, two classes of persons are eligible to contest the validity of a will or trust:

  1. Those who are named in the will or trust (i.e. any beneficiary);
  2. Those who would inherit from the person making the will or trust if the document was held invalid.
    The grounds to contest a will or trust include, but are not limited to, evidence of:

    • Lack of capacity
    • Fraud
    • Undue influence, duress or menace
Things to Consider Before Challenging a Will or Trust

It is possible to add a “no contest” clause to a will or trust which forfeits the right of any person who contests to receive anything. However, because this clause is within the trust, if a challenge is successful the clause will become meaningless. But if, on the other hand, a person falls short in his or her challenge, then the challenger could lose the benefits that were given under the trust or the will.
Before contesting a will or trust, it is important to know that courts do not necessarily look to “fairness” during will or trust contests. The creator of the will or trust has a legal right to dispose of his or her assets in any way that is legal, so “unfair” does not factor into a document’s legal validity. In addition, challengers should know that the large number of will and trust contests each year make judges cautious about reviewing any such cases. This is particularly true when the document in question involves the willing of assets to charitable organizations.

Trust vs WillsRemoval of a Trustee * Guardianship * Probate * Beneficiary Rights
Medicaid Asset Protection * Probate Litigation * Estate Litigation * Living Trusts
In Home Care * Supplemental Needs Trusts  * Fraudulent Transfers
How Our Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help You

At times when litigation concerning a will or trust is unavoidable, our legal team can represent your interests. Christine Castiglia-Rubinstein or one of her attorney associates will take the time to explain the estate litigation process in the simplest possible terms, lay out your options and help you and your family make a decision based on the potential risks and rewards of pursuing an estate litigation case.
The extensive litigation experience and quality reputation of Castiglia-Rubinstein & Associates will give you peace of mind because you know that the other side will need to take you seriously. The ability to be successful at trial is the foundation upon which reasonable compromises can be based.
We take pride in bringing common sense to the emotionally charged arena of contests. No one wants the attorneys to be the only winners. We have a measuring stick here at Castiglia-Rubinstein & Associates: If we do not feel we can add substantially more value to your position then you are probably going to pay us, and we will not take your case.

We are fortunate in that we get to earn a living by helping people. We are pleased to say that our clients have been helped substantially more than we have benefitted. We look forward to helping people in their time of need, and we thank you for considering us. In my many years as a New York probate attorney, I have represented numerous clients in probate cases. Most often my relationship with a client begins when I am asked this question, “How long will the New York probate process take?” In reality, this is only part of the question. What most parties in a New York probate hearing really want to know is, “When will I receive my share of the New York State estate’s assets?” The answer to these two questions depends on several factors, including the speed that the petition can be completed and filed with the New York probate court, and then the length of time that the court will take to rule on the case. Nevertheless, I will say that the New York probate process in general takes anywhere from a little over six months to a few years. Therefore, I submit to you three rules of thumb, which I hope you will helpful and moderate your expectations.

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Trust vs WillsRemoval of a Trustee * Guardianship * Probate * Beneficiary Rights
Medicaid Asset Protection * Probate Litigation * Estate Litigation * Living Trusts
In Home Care * Supplemental Needs Trusts  * Fraudulent Transfers

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