What To Do if You Were Left Out of a Will

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Were you left out of a will and want to know if you have any legal recourse? Watch this educational video by Buffalo Estate Planning Attorney Thomas F. Hewner to learn your rights. If you have questions about your particular situation, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. We welcome the opportunity to assist you.

  • If someone is not in a will and believes they should be, the only recourse is to object to that will. One absolute right is an examination of witnesses and the drafter. When the will is in front of the judge, one can go to court and ask to examine the witnesses and the drafter (if the drafter was not a witness).
  • Your attorney can ask questions such as: How did this person come to the attorney? Who brought this person? Who was there when the will was signed? Was the person in a hospital room three days before death, or was he in his home doing the New York Times crossword puzzle? You can also obtain medical records, asset records, bank records, and other information to help you make an informed determination about objecting to this will.
  • The court may give you time to file objections, but remember that only a few grounds are relevant. If the person is incapacitated, you’ll have to provide medical testimony supporting your belief that, on the date of the will signing, the person was not able to handle their affairs.
  • Claims that a person was unduly influenced, are very difficult to prove because undue influence usually occurs in the presence of the alleged influencer and the decedent.
  • If something was wrong with the will procedure itself, such as cases where witnesses didn’t actually see the person sign the will, you may have a valid claim.

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