Sometimes signing a one-page document can forfeit your right to challenge a will. Make sure to consult with an attorney before signing anything.
Waiver & Consent
A document commonly known as a "Waiver and Consent" is often sent to close family members of a person who passed away. This document, formally called a "Waiver of Process; Consent to Probate," can have powerful consequences if signed.
What It Means
A Waiver and Consent form, which usually is one page or, at most, two pages, waives the requirement for one to be served with formal process and, more importantly, consents that the will be admitted to probate.
What If You Don't Sign It?
If you don't sign a Waiver and Consent, the only effect is that you will have to be formally served with process. In Surrogate's Court (the court in New York that handles probate), the document by which the court will acquire jurisdiction over you is called a "Citation." That document must be personally served on you if you live within New York, but can be served by certified or registered mail if you live in a different state or in a different country.
What To Do If You Receive a Waiver and Consent Form?
You should contact an attorney right way. If you ignore the Waiver and Consent form, the next thing that will happen is that a Citation will be served on you, directing you to show cause why the will should not be probated.
Can A Signed Waiver and Consent Be Undone
There are times when a Waiver and Consent form can be revoked or rescinded. But don't count on it. It depends on the particular circumstances, and courts are typically reluctant to disregard a signed Waiver and Consent.
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