If you were unexpectedly excluded from a will after a loved one passed away in New York or Florida, you may be concerned about the next steps that you can take to protect your interests. Contesting a will can be challenging in any circumstances, but this is especially true if you are a German resident dealing with a probate issue in the United States. There are some key steps that people considering contesting an estate may keep in mind, particularly if you are concerned that your loved one was manipulated into changing their will to the benefit of another person or that a legitimate will is being suppressed.

Research the financial impact

Being left out of a will can carry an emotional sting as well as a financial price. If you believe that your loved one was manipulated into altering their estate, you may be angry about the malfeasance. However, it is important to ensure that challenge is financially viable before you decide to proceed, especially if you will need to deal with the complexity of estate law in both Germany and the U.S. The potential gain should be greater than the legal costs that you would spend to defend your rights to your inheritance.

What you need to show

Probate lawyers experienced in international disputes and estate issues may be well-placed to assist you in moving forward with the challenge. Your attorney may advise you on the timeline that you need to follow to ensure your will contest is timely in the decedent’s state. In order to prevail in your will contest, you will need to show specific proof that the decedent lacked the capacity to change the will due to dementia or other reasons, was pressured into changing it through undue influence or that the document is illegal for other reasons.

Your international probate attorney may file a challenge to the will in probate court, seeking to instead reinstate a prior document that reflected your share or to enforce your statutory rights. They may advise you on the types of evidence that can help you to achieve a victory in court or a successful settlement on your claim.