What Are Valid Grounds to Contest a Will in New York State?

A wooden judge's gavel lying on its side on a white background, symbolizing law, justice, and authority in matters like permanent alimony in NY.

If you are an interested party of a will, such as a beneficiary or an heir, you may contest its validity if you believe there to be discrepancies. Such contesting causes the will to enter the estate litigation process. So before you put yourself through this lengthy process, it is important that you can confirm that you have valid grounds to contest the will and that you are aware of the risks that come with doing so. For more information on this matter, continue reading to see how an experienced Nassau County estate planning lawyer at Barrows Levy PLLC can be of assistance.

Who is qualified to contest a will in New York state?

Essentially, if you were named as a beneficiary in the will, you have the right to contest a will and sue for a just inheritance.

Additionally, you qualify to contest a will if you are an heir who would have inherited under the will if it was free of discrepancies. For example, if you are an heir who was omitted from the will, left with a disproportionate share of the inheritance, or would have received a share of the estate through the laws of intestate, you have a legal standing to challenge the will in question.

What are examples of valid grounds to contest a will?

By New York law, a will would be considered invalid and thus suitable to contest for the following reasons:

  • The decedent was incapacitated when they wrote the will.
  • The decedent was influenced by coercion, threats, bribery, or otherwise fraud when they wrote the will.
  • There were insufficient witnesses when the decedent wrote the will.
  • There is an existence of a later valid will.

Does New York state recognize the n0-contest clause in a will?

Namely, the no-contest clause in a will states that if a beneficiary or an heir chooses to challenge a will and ultimately loses their lawsuit, they will be disinherited and unable to claim what they were initially granted. New York state recognizes and enforces this clause in an attempt to prevent the contesting of a will.

Nonetheless, although you may be eligible to and believe you have valid grounds to challenge a will, the risk may outweigh the reward in the long run. However, it is important to note that if you are not a beneficiary of the will and sue for an inheritance, the no-contest clause will not affect your case because you were not set up to inherit anything in the first place.

If you require further guidance, contact one of our skilled attorneys at Barrows Levy PLLC today.


If you need a Nassau County lawyer who has significant experience handling family and estate planning matters, contact Barrows Levy PLLC to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today. 

Contact Us Today!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.