Contested Wills in Rochester, New York

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It is possible, in Rochester, 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 normally expect to inherit a large portion of the testator's estate (spouses, for instance). This might lead them to assume, correctly or not, that the will was a mistake.

If there is a large amount of money or property at stake, a family member who was left out of the will might find it to be worth the time or money to contest it.

As with the initiation of any other legal proceeding, contesting a will is a big decision. It can be time-consuming and expensivee. It also has the possibility to damage family relationships and foster strife among people who are already mourning the loss of a loved one.

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

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

For example, a will obtained through duress (a threat of harm, usually physical) is invalid. Of course, duress is very difficult to prove after the fact, and the issue may not even come up until many years after it allegedly occurred, making proof even more difficult. However, if the named beneficiary was in some type of position of power or trust with respect to the decedent, and is not someone who one would normally expect to get a large gift in a will (they're unrelated to the testator, for example), those facts alone might be enough to raise the suspicion of impropriety. Of course, those facts by themselves are not enough to prove 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 Rochester, 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 Rochester, New York Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because this can involve complicated legal issues, and be very emotionally draining, this is not something you want to go at alone. A good lawyer in Rochester, New York can be very helpful in making sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.

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Life in Rochester

Rochester is the second largest regional economy in the State of New York and the seat of Monroe County. They city's had a number of different names bestowed upon it such as "the World's Image Centre," "the Flour City," "and more recently, "the Flower City."

Annual Festivals like the Rochester International Jazz Festival, Rochester-High Falls International Film Festival, ImageOut, Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival, and the Lilac Festival are all attractions bring an average of 500,000 visitors to the city. Many of them take place at the Dryden and Little Theatres. The St. Patrick's Day, Rose Festival, Irish, Greek, Gay Pride, Puerto Rican, and Cold Rush Winter Celebration parades are held in the downtown district of Rochester.

Additional tourist attractions include the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film that is the World's oldest photography museum and the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial which is the main venue for hockey and lacrosse events. The Blue Cross Arena is home to the Rochester Americans hockey team, Rochester Razorsharks basketball team, and the Knighthawks lacrosse team. The Blue Cross Arena was elected the location for the NCAA Division I Men's ice hockey league and was host to the 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey East Regional.

Residents of Rochester enjoy access to a number of bar certified local lawyers. Rochester lawyers regularly practice in local courts and many have specific areas of expertise. If you've been injured, have an immigration issue, or even just want to secure your will, Rochester lawyers can advise you on different options of which you may not be aware.

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