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How Long Do You Have to Contest a Will in New York?

contest a will new york ny

You can contest a will on several grounds, each with its own set of complications. The increase in blended families and second families due to late-in-life marriages and other complex family dynamics has fostered increasingly complex issues in the distribution of estates and spousal rights of election. If you need to contest a will in New York, the state will place the burden of proof on you, the party challenging the will’s validity. But how long do you have to contest a will in New York? If you are asking yourself that very question, please continue reading, then contact an experienced Rockland County will attorney today.

What is the statute of limitations for contesting a will in New York?

Technically, New York has no set time deadline to contest an estate. Instead, heirs, beneficiaries and other interested parties will receive notice that the executor of the estate intends to enter the last will and testament into probate. Nonetheless, the Empire State does place certain deadlines for challenging other aspects of the will, including the accounts of the estate and allegations of theft by the executor.

What is the procedure for contesting a will?

Before the executor can divide the estate among beneficiaries, a New York Surrogate Court must accept the will and enter it into probate. Therefore, the executor must notify the surviving spouse and children of the testator’s passing. After informing the survivors, the executor must ask each of the deceased’s heirs to sign a waiver allowing the estate to enter into probate. Should any of the heirs refuse to sign the waiver, they will receive a “probate citation” from the court informing them when and where the executor will present the estate to probate. The heir must appear at the hearing or else they effectively waive their right to contest the will.

At the hearing and at trial, the individual contesting the estate will need to provide evidence of one or more of the following:

  • Improper execution of the will
  • Lack of mental capacity on the part of the testator
  • Undue influence, duress or fraud
  • A discovered second will

Do creditors have a time limit for collecting debts from an estate in New York?

In New York State, creditors generally have seven months, from the date of the individual’s death, to present a claim to the executor. The exact statute of limitations may vary based on the circumstances of the case, but if creditors do not present these claims to the estate within the afforded timeline, these parties will have no claims against the executor for dispersing assets after the deadline.

Whether your role, you should reach out to a skilled Rockland County wills, trusts and estates attorney for guidance.

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If you require an experienced team of attorneys, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

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