If you are planning to draft a will, it is recommended that you consult with your White Plains estate attorney for assistance in doing so. In some cases, it is possible to make a mistake while drafting your own will which could lead to complications down the road for you or your loved ones. Mistakes such as misjudging how much property you actually own can send your family members into probate over your will and prolong their receiving what you want them to have. As your White Plains estate attorney will tell you, family members going to court to contest your will is nearly pointless. The court will side with whatever the will left behind says. If it is incorrect, this could leave a lot of your loved ones upset and unable to do anything about it. The following is information from your White Plains estate attorney regarding mistakes about the facts in a will as well as mistakes in how the will is executed. If you find that you have further questions, contact your estate attorney for further assistance.
Mistakes about Facts in a Will
There is an example that is used by legal professionals when discussing mistakes about facts in a will. It involves a woman who left the residual parts of her estate to a college that she chose. The residual is what is left over after the other specified gifts are paid out. What this woman was unaware of, was that her estate was worth much more than she thought and the college received over half of her estate from the will. Her family members contested the decision, saying that she would have left more to them had she known what her estate was actually worth. The court refused to change the will, stating that they did not possess the power to change the will based on a factual mistake on the woman’s part. This is why it is important to understand your estate and what you are leaving to others before you approve the final draft. The court will not know if there was actually a factual mistake in your will, or if that is truly what your last wishes were. The court will uphold your will after your death, believing what you wrote to be what you wished to happen to your estate. In some states, there are exceptions that will be made to factual errors in a will. This exception is if a parent believes their child to be deceased, when the child is actually not. The child will still be entitled to a part of their parent’s estate inheritance. If the mistakes in a will are due to another person’s false statements, the outcome could be different. An example is if the father’s sons tell their father that their mother is only passing her inheritance to her daughters and the father should leave his to the son’s. If this is found to be a blatantly false statement, the sons in this case have committed fraud. The court will decide what will happen with the will if fraudulent behavior is found to be involved with writing the will. If there is a factual error in the will and the person making the will is determined to be not of sound mind when the will was created, then the will is not a valid one. The will becomes invalid not because of the factual error, but because the person making it lacks the capacity to make a legal document such as a will.
Not Aware of What Is in the Will
It is assumed that if a will has been signed that the person signing it is aware of what is written in it. However, it is possible that an older, vulnerable person was coerced into signing the document without being aware of its contents. A will like this can be contested in court and can have part of the will deemed to be invalid. The person signing the will must be aware of what it contains.
Mistakes When the Will Is Executed
There sometimes can be an error in signing the wills, which a court will have corrected. An example of this would be if a husband and wife have identical wills and accidentally sign each other’s instead of their own. There is a case where this had happened and the court accepted the document signed as it was. If a will has been signed, but not witnessed properly, it may not be valid. Even if the person who drafted the will thought it was valid. In one case, a will was contested after a woman passed away because there was only one witness who signed the document. The state that she resided in required that there were two witnesses who had to sign the document to render it valid. There were several witnesses who testified in court that she meant for her will to be a valid document despite not following the rules for witness signatures. However the court ruled that she did not have a valid document. These reasons and more are reasons why it is highly recommended that you consult with an estate attorney when you are creating your final will. An estate attorney will know the laws for your state so that your final wishes will be honored when you pass away. If there are any mistakes in your will, the courts will not presume anything and not make any corrections even if the mistake was done by the will maker. That is why you want a professional to help you create one of the most important documents you have.
Schedule a Consultation with Your White Plains Estate Attorney
Call today to schedule an appointment with your experienced White Plains estate attorney from Rogers & Rogers, Esq. at (718) 994-1640. Rogers & Rogers, Esq. has the White Plains estate attorney who will help you through your estate planning every step of the way. Call today!