How long does an unnamed heir have to contest a will in New York State?

Asked over 2 years ago - Rome, NY

My elderly Aunt died on 2/24/2012, I received a waiver of Citation and Consent to Probate allow her attorney to probate her will. I have not signed the document, don't know if the will can be probated. My aunt had two wills, one written on 11/24/ 2003 just months before she entered a nursing home the day of her husband's sudden death in Jan. 2004. She previously was in a different nursing home per the husbands direction while he had a heart procedure in the hospital. I am very sure that this will was written and witnessed after the first stay when she already exhibited signs of dementia. Her first will was signed on 9/18/1992, revoked on 11/24/2003 by the second will. All assets go to 2 of her husband's nieces. Attorney's letter says vaguely refers to her abusive marriage and estrangement.

Additional information

Attorney states that if husband had died before her health "deteriorated" she probably would have reintegrated with family. On 11/24/2003 she had two living brothers, who would have taken care of her and many nieces and nephews. Her will states that she turns to her attorney to be her fuduciary because she has no living adult relatives or friends to trust to carry out fudiciary responsiblities. I am not sure if there is any legal documentation of her husband's abuse of her.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Sharon Melissa Siegel

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am a NY lawyer. If you have been sent a waiver and consent, you are likely a distributee (next of kin) of the decedent. If you do not sign the waiver and consent, you will be served with a Citation. The citation will state a date to appear in court if you are contesting/ filing objections to the will. If you do not show up (or have a lawyer show up representing you) or you do not ask for an adjournment, the Court will likely enter an order admitting the will to probate. Of course, someone other than you may file objections and this would delay the probate. However, once the will is admitted to probate and the executor is appointed, he or she will marshall assets and distribute the assets pursuant to the will which he or she offered for probate. There is no specific time by which the citation will be issued and varies from county to county. However, if you are even thinking of contesting the will, you should consult a lawyer. Your post raises many issues and I have not gone through the issues in my response. If you want to discuss any further issues, this would be best done in a consultation.

  2. Frank Louis Buquicchio

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . Ms. Siegel provides sound advice - if you are considering contesting, you should consult with an attorney regarding the Waiver as well as how to proceed. There are only a handful of reasons to contest a Will's validity and the attorney will able to guide you in that repect

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