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Am I entitled to challenge my grandparents will so I can inherit some of the estate?

Baldwin, NY |

My Father passed away before I was born. 6 years later my grandfather (his father) made a will excluding my deceased father and his children. Both grandparents have passed now my uncle wants me to sign a paper saying I will not contest the will and will recognize him as the executor. I want to know is there anyway I can challenge the will so I can inherit some of the estate. They left everything in the will to their surviving children(my aunts and uncles) minus my deceased father.

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Attorney answers 6


Well, if your uncle wants you to sign a paper - perhaps a waiver and consent- saying you waive (as in give up) your right to contest your grandfather's will, then it would seem you have a right to contest it. My suggestion is that you take the paper your uncle wants you to sign and a copy of the will, if you have it, to an experienced trusts and estates attorney and get a consultation on your rights and interests and options for protecting them. - Ian W. MacLean

This is not legal advice. If you would like legal advice, please contact the firm. The firm offers legal advice only to clients who have retained the firm in writing. New York ethics rules for attorneys and the rules of the Appellate Division require an written engagement letter or retainer agreement for all matters anticipated to exceed $3,000 in legal fees.

Ian William MacLean

Ian William MacLean


And while my learned colleagues from around the state and country have offered cautionary opinions on the likelihood of success if you contested the will, New York law provides for pre objection discovery that can take months or years and that in itself can be motivation for a settlement of your claims as a distributed. In my humble opinion, there are not enough facts know from your question to say whether you are likely to succeed. - Ian W. MacLean


It is very difficult and expensive to successfully contest a will. You have to show the testator was incompetent when he signed the will or was unduly influenced. Your first step would be to obtain a copy of the will and consult with a probate attorney.

Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


That sounds like it would be a very difficult challenge. If I understand you correctly, the Will was made when you were 6 years old? I assume that that was a very long time ago? 3 ways for challenging a Will 1) testator lacked mental capacity ( thinking grandpa had capacity here); 2) somebody exerted undue influence on testator ( Will was made a long time ago not a month before he died when he was held up in the 2nd floor house of one of your uncles 3) Will was not executed in accordance with NY's statute of wills ( there is a presumption of validity if it was drafted and executed under the supervision of an attorney.

My firm is a second generation family firm successfully handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases for over 35 years. "Let Our Family Help Your Family" 516 466-7900


I agree with my colleagues. You would have a steep hill to climb, bordering on Mt. Everest, given the limited facts you have provided. You cannot challenge a Will because you do not like what it says. Mr. Kiley has highlighted the bases for contesting the Will. There is nothing in your facts to suggest that any of those circumstances existed, here. If you cooperate with your uncle, there is a *chance* that he may give you a portion of the estate, anyway. Even if he does not, you will have done your part to preserve family unity. A Will contest is not likely to succeed, but it will pit your remaining relatives against you.

James Frederick

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I agree with my esteemed and knowledgeable colleagues and concur that a will challenge is an uphill battle. That being said, it is important to review both the will and any medical records contemporaneous with the will execution. I would not sign any document without reviewing the facts with an attorney first.


Roman Aminov, Esq.

Law Offices of Roman Aminov

Estate Planning - Elder Law - Probate - Real Estate

147-17 Union Turnpike | Flushing, New York 11367
P: 347.766.2685 | F: 347.474.7344 |

This answer does not constitute legal advice and no attorney client relationship has been formed. Before choosing a course of action, it is always advisable to seek the advice of an attorney in your area.


You have no case.....but you do have some leverage. If grandpa wants a waiver from you then the question is " what are you getting in exchange?" make grandpa offer you something in return as he is free tom give to whomever he wants and you have no recourse...but if he is worried then that is the opportunity to negotiate something.

My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick


It is the uncle that wants the waiver. But the advice is still sound.

John P Corrigan

John P Corrigan


Sorry bad ......My point is for uncle as James properly noted.

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