Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New York

contesting a will

my mother died 2 weeks ago and left 1/4 to each of my three siblings she left 1/8 to my ex-wife and myself.

i believe that she was incompetent at the time of writing the will. she committed suicide 6 months later. she was severely depressed and diabetic. in the three years

since my fathers death she frequently asked me to give her sleeping pills or put a pillow over her head to kill herself.she refused to take her anti-depressants, she would not see a doctor when in pain and coughing up bloodand refused to take her insulin for her diabetes. can she be considered to be unstable at the of writing the will?

do i have grounds to contest the will?

Asked on 6/03/04, 9:24 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Debra Palazzo Law Offices of Debra Palazzo, LLC

Re: contesting a will

I am sorry to hear of your loss and the sad circumstances involved.

You may have grounds to contest the will but what part do you have a problem with? The 1/8 to X wife? If will is thrown out, all sibings will inherit equally. How much money/property is at stake? A will contest can be very time consuming and thereby expensive. First have a competent atty review the will document to make sure it is legally sufficient as required by statute: original writing/witnesses/signatures, etc.

Before contesting will, perhaps let your X know of your intention and the likely result and offer some sort of settlement. Good Luck.

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Answered on 6/03/04, 9:59 pm
Daniel Clement Law Offices of Daniel Clement

Re: contesting a will

You could contest the will if you could show that your mother was incompetent at the time she made the will or that the will was procured by fraud etc. The only question I have is 1/8 of the estate is not accounted for. Your siblings are sharing 3/4 of the estate, you are receiving 1/8. Where is the other 1/8.

Daniel Clement

Daniel Clement

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Answered on 6/04/04, 9:40 am
Walter LeVine Walter D. LeVine, Esq.

Re: contesting a will

If you can establish her mental state by competent medical testimony you have a shot. The standard for making a Will (competency) is low, so you have an uphill battle, especially since all children are mentioned. However, the inclusion of your "x" wife, unless your mother maintained a good relationship with her, might be the opening. How inconsistent with prior Wills is the latest one. Were all children treated equally in prior Wills? Was your "x" mentioned in prior Wills? If you were successful, a prior Will might be adjudicated to be the valid Will. Is there a major differential between the current and prior one? Is it worth fighting? Keep in mind these suits are difficult and extremely costly. The fees in my last contest were hundreds of thousand of dollars and all fees are usually paid out of the estate. Is the estate large enough to make the contest worthwhile? I suggest taking your concerns to your siblings and try to mediate a settlement between yourselves. If they are reasonable and your claim is strong enough, a settlement is probably the best and least costly route.

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Answered on 6/04/04, 10:53 am

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