They can try - but you may want to include a clause that says anyone who contests the will gets nothing - that may give them pause
Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.
In the U.S., people are virtually guaranteed their day in court. So yes, they can contest. But their chances of winning are very small, particularly if you use an attorney to assist with the Will. Not only can the attorney insure that the document is valid and enforceable, but he/she can also testify in support of the Will, in case someone decides to challenge it.
Under the circumstances, you will also likely want to have a durable power of attorney in place, in case you ever become incapacitated.
***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!
You are not required to leave anything to your siblings or their family in your will. Can they contest a will that specifically disinherits them, yes. Are they likely to success, if the will is properly draft and executed in a manner meeting all local statutory requirements, it is unlikely. The bottom line is that if you want to disinherit anyone, you need to have an attorney draft the will for you to be sure it is done correctly.
** LEGAL DISCLAIMER ** My response above is not legal advice and it does not establish an attoreny-client relationship. When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel. Law Offices of Eric J. Gold www.EGoldLaw.com Telephone: 818-279-2737 Email: email@example.com
Your relatives can successfully contest your will only if (1) they are the people who would get your estate if the will is invalid, and (2) they can prove either you did not have the mental capacity to make a will or you were improperly influenced to make the will by someone. In either situation, the will is invalid.
Hiring a lawyer to prepare a carefully worded and properly signed and witnessed will is a prudent way to make sure your will, not theirs, will be done!
The most common reasons for challenge are undue influence or incompetence.
They will have a very hard challenge if these reasons do not exist.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.
You have asked a perfect question for Avvo. The answer, as others have said, is no, they will not get anything if you don't want them to. Our tradition in America of private ownership is a holdover of the British system of ownership wherein a person owning property may dispose of that property however the person sees fit. Basically, it's your stuff and as long as you're competent, you can give it to whomever you want. You could change your will everyday for the next ten years and the last will you write before you die will be the one that is enforced, with all others being null and void.
The long and short of it: Basically, in America, you get to do with your property what you want, no one else has a say--except maybe the IRS.
This advice being provided in no way represents the formation of a lawyer client relationship. This is advice only based on limited information. The advice seeker should seek an in-person meeting with a qualified attorney to discuss his or her issue.