Probating a Will in New York requires that the document satisfy the Court requirements for authenticity. In other words, a Last Will must be executed in the manner required by the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law. This requires a writing and at least two witnesses.
In addition to the basic statutory directives, the Surrogate’s Court may be shown that a decedent had testamentary capacity and was not subject to undue influence. Testamentary capacity typically concerns whether a person recognized that he was signing a Will and had knowledge concerning the natural objects of his bounty (i.e., his family and friends) and also was aware of his assets. This basic knowledge reflects on a person’s ability to dispose of an estate.
When it comes to the area of undue influence, the effect of such a factor becomes much less defined and many times more difficult to determine. Undue influence concerns influence which a person normally would not succumb to, absent other factors. These other factors may be susceptibility due to old age or illness or even dependence. The prevailing factual climate and circumstances surrounding a decedent at the time of signing a Will may involve numerous events. Motive and opportunity are always considerations. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has many articles concerning Will contests and probate.