A loved one's Last Will and Testament plays a significant role during the administration of his or her estate. Therefore, as a surviving family member, you may have concerns when details of the will seem strange or unlike what your loved one would have intended. Various circumstances could have resulted in your loved one creating or changing a will to reflect wishes on which he or she did not fully decide.
If you have concerns that a will underwent unnecessary or forced modifications, you may wonder whether someone's undue influence may have resulted in these changes. Unfortunately, some individuals may attempt to take advantage of elderly or otherwise vulnerable parties in hopes of gaining assets for themselves. Certain surprising inheritance outcomes could present cause for this type of concern.
Most commonly, individuals leave a considerable amount of their estate to various family members. Though everyone may not necessarily gain an equal share in all cases, most parties expect some form of inheritance. Loved ones may have even discussed their intentions with family before their passing. When the reading of the will reveals that many family members have been disinherited, individuals may suspect foul play.
Of course, the relationships individuals had with the deceased could come into play in regards to the potential for an inheritance. If strong relationships did not exist or a falling out occurred, untoward actions may not have led to an individual losing out on an inheritance. However, children, spouses and other close loved ones may have cause to wonder about the validity of the will if they receive little or nothing.
In some cases, an unexpected individual may become the sole beneficiary or heir or at least obtain an unprecedented amount of the estate. Sometimes, a caretaker may land in this position, and the surviving family may suspect that the caretaker coerced their loved one into changing his or her will. Unfortunately, this type of situation can occur as individuals who need care often stay in a position of vulnerability that makes them easy targets for unseemly actions.
If you believe that a person's undue influence resulted in your loved one's will changing significantly, you may wonder how you could address the issue. Luckily, options do exist for contesting the validity of the will. Litigation often comes in as the most common way to address these concerns and ensure that the will gets fully and legally examined.
Estate litigation can turn into a timely and stressful process. Therefore, you may want to enlist professional assistance if embarking on such an endeavor. Discussing your concerns with an experienced New York attorney could help you better understand your options.