Contested Wills in Binghamton, New York

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It is allowed, in Binghamton, New York, to go to court and claim that a will is invalid, in some cases. This is called a Will Contest.

Sometimes, testators leave out of their wills people who might naturally expect to inherit a significant portion of the testator's estate (spouses and children, for example). This might lead them to assume, truthfully or not, that the will was some kind of mistake.

If the decedent was fairly well-off, their will might involve a great deal of money or property. This is one of the basic reasons, besides a general sense of exclusion, that a family member might expend the great deal of time and money necessary to contest a will.

You should remember that a will contest often results in adversarial legal proceedings, which can be very contentious. Considering the likelihood that other members of your family might be on the other side, it's clear that this can really damage a person's relationship with his or her family.

When Can a Will be Contested in Binghamton, New York?

Of course, a Binghamton, New York court will not invalidate a will without a very good reason, but there are some situations which render a will clearly invalid.

To be valid, a will must be a product of the testator's own free will. So, a will that the testator was forced or tricked into making is not valid, if the probate court finds out about the duress or trickery. Of course, wills are typically made many years before a person dies, so how can a person expect to prove duress or fraud if they suspect it? To begin with, it's not easy. It is possible, however. First of all, it's good to have as much documentation of the testator's affairs as possible. Any written statements concerning their desires on this matter will also be very useful, if there are any. Also, if the suspect gift is totally out of left field (property is left to someone that you know the testator didn't like, or barely knew, for instance), this might also support your position that the will was invalid. Of course, the testator can leave his or her money to whomever they want, so these facts, by themselves, will not be enough to prove fraud or duress.

Another reason why a will might be invalid is the maker of the will being mentally incompetent at the time the will was made. In order to make a valid will, the person making it must have enough of his or her mental faculties to understand what they're doing, and the consequences of it.

If you successfully contest the will in Binghamton, New York, the court will likely distribute the property as if the decedent had died without a will. This usually involves giving it to the closest living relative. While the exact intestacy schemes (the order in which property is distributed to relatives) vary from state to state, they are usually pretty similar. If possible, the property will go to the decedent's spouse, and if the decedent has any minor children with that spouse, it is with the understanding that the money will be used primarily for their care. If the decedent did not have children or a spouse (or outlived them), the property typically goes to the decedent's parents. If neither of them are alive, it goes to grand children, grandparents, or siblings. After that, it typically goes to cousins, nieces/nephews, step-children, former spouses, etc. Intestacy laws provide a line of succession long enough that just about anyone will leave at least one person behind who is entitled to inherit from them, even if they're an extremely distant relation. Sometimes, however, people make multiple wills, to account for the many personal and financial changes that usually happen during a person's life. Usually, the most recent will purports to revoke all past wills, to avoid any conflict between them. In such cases, if a will is entirely invalidated, a court can sometimes revive the second most recent will.

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Can a Binghamton, New York Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is often difficult, and never fun. However, the whole process can be made more bearable if you have the help of a qualified Binghamton, New York attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.

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Life in Binghamton

Binghamton is the county seat of Broome County in the state of New York.  With a population of 47,000, it is considered the cultural center of the "Greater Binghamton" area, also known as the "Triple Cities" metropolitan area.  It was settled as early as 1802 and officially incorporated as a city in 1867.
   
Currently Binghamton is known for being a city with a rich history of technological innovation.  The city is the birthplace of companies like IBM, Link Simulators, and Dick's Sporting Goods.  Binghamton University is also located nearby and is an important contributor to the economy and educational atmosphere of the Triple Cities area.

Residents of Binghamton enjoy the city's many urban and rural trails, which are suitable for bicycling and walking.  One of the more popular urban trails is the Downtown and Northside River Walk, which winds past many of the town's main attractions.  Binghamton also boasts a number of fitness and recreation facilities. 

Notable Binghamton residents have included musical composer Frederick Ayres and author Liam Murphy.  Binghamton has also made several appearances in many films, TV shows, and books. 

Lawyers practicing in Binghamton, New York typically file their cases in either the Binghamton City Court or the Broome County Courthouse.  The Binghamton Supreme Court Law Library has proven to be of great assistance for many Binghamton lawyers.  Binghamton lawyers practice in a wide variety of legal fields and topics.

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