Can you contest a Will if you are not family?

UPDATED: Oct 22, 2013

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Can you contest a Will if you are not family?

The woman that is deceased was my neighbor. Her son has Power of Attorney and is executor. He told me and my wife 3 years ago that we were getting a substantial 5 figure amount. Now however, he says that the Will was changed 6 years ago but he told us that 3 years ago. A friend told us that the local church was supposed to get $10,000 but he said he wasn’t going to give it to them because of a child molester that goes to the church. I believe the woman that told us that was also a beneficiary. We don’t know how to find out because he said he didn’t have to probate the Will. I would like to have all the facts before I confront him about it.

Asked on October 22, 2013 under Estate Planning, New York


Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can offer a will for probate even though you are not a family member. You or the church or one of the other suspected beneficiaries can petition the probate court and ask to be named executor. 

You do not need to have the will before you open the probate case. The court should order the son to produce the will. However, you may also be able to get a copy of the will from the attorney who drafted it (if you can find out who that is).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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