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Contesting wills without legal help a risky prospect

It is not uncommon for people to feel they were unfairly treated in a loved one's will. Although New York state laws allow people to contest wills, it is a complicated legal process that requires much more than not liking the terms of a will. Proving a will to be invalid could be a costly and time-consuming process, typically not tackled without legal counsel. While state laws differ, four fundamental reasons could lead to a will being declared invalid.

Wills and powers of attorney may need review when relocating

Relocating to another state might affect the validity of some estate planning documents. People who move to or from New York might be caught unawares when a loved one is hospitalized or becomes incapacitated, and they do not have the power to make financial or medical decisions. In some jurisdictions, powers of attorney that were established along with wills in other states are not recognized.

Legal counsel can prevent common errors with wills and trusts

Estate planning can be a daunting process, and that might be why -- reportedly -- only about half of all Americans have legacy plans in place. Wills and trusts are essential for people in New York and elsewhere, to make sure their wishes are met for aging and possible incapacitation or death, of which the latter can happen at any time. Leaving it for a more appropriate time to draft a will could be a big mistake.

Don't forget to update wills and trusts after a divorce

Ending a marriage is never an easy process, even if the divorce is amicable. It is not uncommon for people in New York and elsewhere to be so overwhelmed by property division, child custody and other issues that they push updating their wills and trusts to the back burner or forget about it altogether. There are essential estate planning matters to attend to at this challenging time.

Wills or trusts -- which is best?

In many cases, the first stumbling block for people in New York who want to get their estate planning done is understanding the different options. Some think they have to choose between trusts and wills, not realizing that they can have both. Many people choose to incorporate trusts along with their wills because it could ensure the proper execution of their orders.

Contesting a will could be challenging for those who were left ou

Losing a loved one is naturally a traumatic experience. When a person discovers that he or she was left out of the will, the trauma is often magnified. However, challenging a will is a complicated process and best handled with legal guidance. Under New York laws, a testator has the final say over whom to name as beneficiaries in a will.

Well-drafted wills can protect children with disabilities

When most New York parents deal with estate planning, they make sure their minor children will be protected and cared for if they should die or become incapacitated. This concern is heightened for parents of children with disabilities. For them, their wills might need to include plans for lifelong care of their children -- but where should they start?

Wills: Testamentary capacity compromised after dementia diagnosis

For estate planning documents to be valid in New York and elsewhere, the testator must have had testamentary capacity when the papers were signed. In cases in which wills were signed or modified after dementia diagnosis, challenges might be filed. One man had several questions after his three siblings pressured their father into changing his will.

Contested wills often follow allegations of undue influence

New York laws allow people to create and maintain estate plans to choose to whom assets will be left upon their deaths. These plans typically include wills and trusts, and inter vivo transfers could also form part of estate planning. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous opportunists find ways to misuse others and take advantage of them. Typical targets are older people who own substantial assets and who are vulnerable because of illness, memory problems and isolation from family members.

Wills: Appointing an executor deserves careful consideration

Estate planning is a crucial yet challenging task. Advisors in New York discourage people from leaving the drafting of wills and establishing trusts until they have reached middle age. Although many see it as a daunting task, debilitating or even fatal injuries can occur at any age, and being prepared is crucial. One of the tasks that needs careful consideration involves appointing an executor for the estate.

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