skip to Main Content
contesting a will

Contesting a Will: Grounds and Legal Procedures

Contesting a will can be a complex and emotionally taxing process, but understanding the legal grounds and procedures involved is essential for those who believe they have been wronged during the estate division after a loved one’s death. In this informative guide, we delve into the reasons one might challenge a will and the steps required to navigate such a legal dispute.

Understanding Grounds for Contesting a Will

Before embarking on the daunting journey of contesting a will, it’s crucial to establish whether there are substantial grounds to do so. Here are common reasons that may warrant such an action:

Lack of Testamentary Capacity

This occurs when the decedent is believed to have lacked the mental capacity to understand the extent of their property or the effects of signing a will at the time the document was executed.

Undue Influence

Undue influence implies that the decedent was pressured or coerced into creating the will in a way that does not reflect their true intentions, often benefitting the influencer.

Fraud or Forgery

If it’s suspected that the will was tampered with, or the decedent was tricked into signing it under false pretenses, such actions could constitute fraud or forgery.

Improper Execution

A will must adhere to the legal formalities of signing and witnesses as dictated by state law. Failure to do so may render it invalid.

Mistake or Ambiguity

Sometimes, wills contain errors or are unclear, potentially causing disputes among potential heirs or beneficiaries.

Legal Procedures for Contesting a Will

Once the grounds to contest are identified, what follows is a structured legal process:

Gathering Evidence

Compiling documentation and testimony that support your claim is the first step.

Filing a Lawsuit

You will need to formally file a challenge against the will in probate court.

Discovery Phase

During discovery, both parties exchange information and evidence pertinent to the case.

Mediation or Settlement

Before reaching trial, parties may attempt to resolve the matter out of court through mediation or a settlement.


If no resolution is found, the case will go to trial where a judge or jury will determine the outcome.

Tips for Contesting a Will

Here are valuable tips for those considering a challenge:

Seek Legal Advice

Due to the intricacy of these cases, enlisting the expertise of a seasoned attorney is advised.

Gather Strong Evidence

Amass as much evidence as possible to build a solid case.

Be Prepared for the Process

Contesting a will can be lengthy and demanding—prepare mentally, emotionally, and financially.

Consider Mediation or Settlement

Concluding the matter outside of court can save time and resources.

Remember, challenging a will is a significant legal endeavor, and it is one that requires detailed knowledge of state laws and procedural nuances. To navigate these waters successfully, it’s crucial to have a reliable and experienced attorney who can offer the insight and representation necessary to ensure that your interests are accurately represented and defended. Jeffrey M. Rosenblum, P.C. is equipped to provide the expertise and compassionate guidance you need during these challenging times.

Armonk Estate Planning Attorney

Contesting a will is never easy, but having a knowledgeable Armonk estate planning attorney by your side is invaluable. Jeffrey M. Rosenblum, P.C. offers over 40 years of legal experience to clients throughout Armonk, Great Neck, Rockville, Melville, Brooklyn, and beyond.

If you find yourself in need of assistance in contesting a will, or seeking guidance on any other estate planning issues, don’t hesitate to contact us. Schedule a consultation today by calling 866-637-7300 and take the first step towards securing your future and protecting your rights.

Back To Top