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I believe that my brother's friend exerted undue influence on him in the execution of his will. How do I prove it in court?

Yonkers, NY |

My brother knew this woman only casually . She was not a girlfriend in the traditional sense . My brother suffered from brain cancer . After my brother's third operation to remove the tumor , my father died and I was named the executor of his estate . I attempted to get the estate settled as soon as possible but my brother became impatient and hired his own lawyer . Previously , we had used the same lawyer to assist us , the only beneficiaries , to in dividing the estate . At the same time as he hired his own lawyer , he dropped me as his power of attorney and health care proxy and installed the same friend in these roles . He also had a will drawn up in which he left 70% of his assets to his same friend and her relatives . What are my percent chances of successfully challenging his will in court ?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    What are your chances of prevailing in court? There is absolutely no way to tell you that and anyone who says they can on a message board is full of "it." You need to hire an attorney to determine what evidence, if any, you have that undue influence was exerted. These types of cases are very hard to prove as you would need eyewitnesses and perhaps medical records. Start now if you are serious by having an attorney investigate the case with you.

    This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:

  2. Did your brother die? If NO, any challenge would be premature. If YES, I suggest you consult a trusts and estates lawyer.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  3. Wait until he passes and then see what the will says. You can retain an estate lawyer at that time to fight the will. Percentages are unknown and premature. Good luck.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or

  4. I have the same concern as my colleagues -- is your brother still alive? Perhaps the woman to whom your brother apparently wishes to give his assets is "not a girlfriend in the traditional sense," but it seems to me that that is not really your concern. Besides, I'm not sure what a "girlfriend in the traditional sense" is. Maybe worrying about what your brother's will says while he is still alive might make you "not a brother in the traditional sense."

    But none of that is your actual question. Your real question is what is the precise percentage of your successfully challenging your brother's will. The answer is 41.2569%.

    Am I serious? No, of course not. But there is a percentage I can provide you with: If your brother is alive (as I think your posting suggests) and he learns of your posting, I think I can predict with virtually 100% accuracy that he will be beside himself with anger at you.

    Good luck to you. And to your brother.

    Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.

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