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Is a New York Will Contest tried before a jury?

A New York will contest can be tied before a jury, but only if it the objections survive a summary judgment motion. In order to survive a summary judgment motion, the objectant to the will must show that there is a reasonable chance that the objections can succeed, that there is a reasonable issue of fact for the jury.

See for example how summary judgment could work in an undue influence ground for a will challenge. If the proponents or beneficiaries of a will are not related to the decedent, I would think that the objections would survive a summary judgment motion and would go to the jury, as long as there are signs of a confidential relationship between the beneficiaries and the decedent, since there is an inference of undue influence. A Power of Attorney or healthcare proxy is an automatic ruling of confidential relationship.

If the beneficiaries are related to the decedent, then it would be harder for a will challenge to survive a summary judgment motion, since there is no inference of undue influence for relatives even if there is a confidential relationship.

Here is more information about winning a New York will contest.

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Albert Goodwin, Esq. is a New York wills, trusts and estates lawyer. He can be reached at (212) 233-1233.