Wills and Trusts Objections and Contests
Attorneys that handle Wills and Trusts Objections in Suffolk, Nassau, Brooklyn, Queens New York
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:
- Those who are named in the will or trust (i.e. any beneficiary);
- 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
- 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 Wills * Removal of a Trustee * Guardianship * Probate * Beneficiary Rights
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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. The attorneys at the law firm of CHRISTINE THEA RUBINSTEIN and 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 CHRISTINE THEA RUBINSTEIN and 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 CHRISTINE THEA RUBINSTEIN and 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.
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.
They are as follows:
One, be prepared to wait a substantial amount of time for the full probate process to be completed and the estate to be closed. Two, be patient and hope for the best, but be prepared to wait a long time if the particular case warrants this. Three, generally the more fighting, disagreement, disputes, and litigation, which may occur between the heirs, beneficiaries, and/or executors, the longer the probate process will take. Nonetheless, if it is any consolation, know that distributions may be made from the estate assets as the estate progresses through the New York State probate process.
Once the required New York petition for letters testamentary or administration is filed, objections to the petition can be submitted during a set period of time. If objections are brought forward, then one or more hearing(s) is usually required which will delay the proceedings. If no objections are made, the court will not require a hearing and will order that the estate be opened, or that the administration of the estate begin. New York county probate courts will allow administration to begin when satisfied that the petition filed was carefully drafted. The petition must include the names of all the parties involved and the petition has to meet all of the New York probate petition legal requirements.
Although many factors can slow down a probate proceeding, there are several key items that are worth mentioning. The first is the location and number of beneficiaries. Where the beneficiaries live adds time to the process, as documents need to be shuffled back and forth for signature. Further, it is unreasonable to think that everyone will agree on everything all the time, so the greater number of beneficiaries involved can increase the odds for disagreement. In cases where beneficiaries have a lot at stake, they sometimes will hire their own legal counsel. When this is the case it can take more time to communicate and resolve issues.
Will contests in New York can cause significant delays in probate proceedings. A will contest is to determine the validity the Last Will and Testament of the deceased (the decedent). Anyone is allowed to hire a New York will contest lawyer and legally challenge the validity of the decedent’s will. Even when the reasons for filing a New York will contest are found to be bogus, the court must investigate each claim thoroughly before the probate process can continue. This can take up precious time and causes unnecessary expense. The degree of complexity of the assets in the estate can also increase the time that probate proceedings take. Before estate assets can be distributed, they need to be identified, located, and inventoried by the administrator or executor of the estate. Bank accounts and family homes are not very complex, and can be processed fairly quickly. In contrast, business interests and offshore investments can take more time to sort out and distribute.
We are dedicated to your success — so contact us. Speak with one of our knowledgeable Long Island estate planning litigation, will and living trust litigation attorneys today from wherever you are in New York in Nassau and Suffolk, Brooklyn, Kings and Queens Counties, on Long Island and all New York City boroughs including Bronx, Westchester, Richmond County, and Manhattan. Call 631-465-0444 today.
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