After someone dies with a will in New York, the document must be filed with the court to be validated. People who believe that the will is invalid for some reason may file an objection to it to start a will contest. However, individuals who are contesting the validity of a will must notify all the interested parties because they have the right to participate in the litigation. Identifying the interested parties can be more complicated than people might think.
The immediate family members of the deceased person
The deceased person’s immediate family members are all interested parties in a will contest regardless of whether they are named in the will that is being challenged. The person who is contesting the will must notify each of the immediate family members of the will contest so that they can participate in the litigation.
People named in the will being challenged
People other than the immediate family members who are named in the will that is being challenged are also interested parties. The individual who is challenging the will’s validity must notify each person who is named in the current document about the will contest. They will then have the ability to litigate the matter in court.
People named in the prior will
In addition to the immediate family members and others who are named in the current will, any people other than family members who were named in the previous will must also be notified. Once every interested party has been identified and provided with notice of the will contest, each will have time to file responses to the contested will in the probate court.
Will contests are frequently unsuccessful because the courts view wills as the voice of the deceased people who wrote them. However, if a will is invalid due to incompetence, duress, coercion or other reasons, a will contest might result in the document being declared invalid. People who want to challenge a will or have received notice of a will contest might want to consult with experienced probate litigation lawyers.