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Court Rules on Will Contest Proceeding


In the matter of a decedent’s estate, his daughter had filed a motion for the court to wait on admission of a decision regarding the probate of the last will and testament. She also asked for a time extension to file objections and time to be able to examine the proponent and for an interpretation of the effect of the terrorem clause or no-contest clause that is included in the will.

On the return day of the hearing for the original matter, the daughter showed and the proponent was directed to change the petition because the adoptive daughter of the decedent’s predeceased son was not mentioned. More data that a New York Probate Lawyer obtained was the daughter was not served with the supplemental citation and is claiming she only received a day’s notice that a decree on the admission of the will to probate is going to be presented to the court. The daughter got an immediate order to show cause to wait in making a decision on the decree.

The daughter had checked witnesses who are verifying the proposed will and now wants to examine the proponent of the will. Her allegation was that the son of the testator, who is also an attorney at law, acted as the decedent’s attorney, and the will being executed in his office. Further, she is claiming that the provisions of the will were altered to assign other benefits to the proponent and his family at her expense. Suffolk County Probate Lawyers cited that the daughter was as well saying that her father was 80 years old at the execution of the will and was relying on other for his physical needs.

The last will and testament of the decedent say that if anyone opposes the probate of his will, that person and any participant will rescind his right to any bequest. The daughter asked that court that before they grant or deny her request for the examination of the proponent, they first interpret this part of the will. NY Probate Lawyers said that the court will not be able to construe any part of the will before it is in probate. It can however, check if the examination of the proponent is part of the public policy of declaration. This means that the action that will be done is does not tantamount to a breach of the terrorem clause.

In this case, the court said it is their practice that if the person who drafted the will or a member of his firm and/or his family will receive a part of the estate in probate of a proposed will, he is required to submit an affidavit explaining that the will was free and voluntary made. He needs to explain in the same affidavit why he or his family is receiving a special treatment under the will. If it is a member of his firm who drew up the will then he will need to explain if he had any connection the actual making of the will and the person who actually made it should have his own affidavit saying that he acted in behalf of the decedent and not the proponent.

The affidavits will be carefully scrutinized by the court. It will not be examined for as long as there are unexplained suspicious circumstances. In this case, the proponent submitted applications that showed he will be receiving more of the will goes into intestacy or going without a valid will. It appeared, however, that the daughter of the proponent, the granddaughter of the decedent will receive a substantial amount that is more than what she will receive in intestacy as she is not considered as an heir to the estate. The court then granted the request of the daughter to examine the proponent with regard to any matter regarding the will.

Being sure of what the law will or will not allow you to do when matched by a condition of a will may be hard. You would not want to lose any of your rights a beneficiary. This is where a knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel comes in. They will go through the will with you and review the rule of law with you to determine the proper plan of action in making sure you are getting your due.

When looking for a lawyer who would handle your case properly and with care in New York or Long Island, you have Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We will not only check on the conditions of the will but see to it that we have exhausted the options provided in the law to get your fair share. You can get a free consultation with us at 1-800 NY – NY- LAW.

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