Do I have grounds to contest my father’s Will?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I have grounds to contest my father’s Will?

I have received a copy of my father’s Will that will be filed for probate in Hamilton County, NY. In it it states that,

Asked on April 9, 2019 under Estate Planning, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) Yes, the fact that your father clearly wrote "if he survives me" may well provide grounds for a challenge to your cousin becoming the beneficiary, since wills are enforced as per their clear terms.
2) And if the witnesses did not sign the will, that may also be enough to challenge the will on the grounds of failing the signature requirement.
If you an invalidate the will, then the estate will be distributed as per "intestate succession"--i.e. to you and your brother. While you should never count on winning a challenge to a will (or any court case; you can never predict the outcome 100% in advance), based on what you write, it appears that a challenge would have at least a reasonble chance of success and so may well be worthwhile.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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