30 Nov Opposition Evidence Raises Fact Questions Denying Surviving Spouse Dismissal of Objections
A 2016 Will was alleged to have been executed five days before decedent’s death while in a care facility receiving hospice. The court noted the attesting witnesses provided affidavits supporting the Will and opposition evidence raised questions of fact including attesting witnesses’ credibility requiring a trial. Opposition evidence revealed decedent could not speak at the time the will was drafted and executed thus it would have been physically impossible for her to dictate the document or read it aloud. Thus, petitioner’s motion was denied meaning if there is no settlement this case will have to go to trial to be resolved. Will contests are almost ugly litigations, usually between family members. They are costly and usually take years to be resolved at trial. The lesson to be learned here is that the attorney you select to write and supervised the execution of your will can make the difference between a quick and easy probate and a multi year costly litigation. If you find yourself in a Will litigation you need to be represented by a lawyer who specializes in Surrogate’s Court litigation. This is an age of specialization and a lawyer who may be great in the estate planning and will execution services may not be the best lawyer to represent you in a Will contest.
Surrogate Rita Mella, Surrogate’s Court Matter of Estate of Penick