Usually, writing a will is something that is put off for years and years. When you finally get down to doing it, you write it to pass along your belongings to those who you care for. Sometimes, people write them to show specifically who they did not care for by disinheriting them.
Manhattan businessman Frank Mandelbaum did one better than disinheriting by putting a condition on the inheritance of his grandchild. Mandelbaum's will required that his son Robert Mandelbaum, a Manhattan Criminal Court Judge, marry the mother of his child within six months of the birth in order for the child to inherit part of the $180,000 trust for Frank Mandelbaum's grandchildren, according to the New York Post.
The twist is that Robert Mandelbaum is already married to a man that his father knew he was romantically involved with.
Robert Mandelbaum has challenged the will in court, making the argument that the will is against New York's public policy, according to the Post. Which leads to the question: Who can challenge a will anyway?
In order to challenge a will, a person must have the standing to do so. Standing means that the person challenging the will has the possibility of benefitting from it. In other words, to challenge the will, you must either be listed in the will as a beneficiary, or if the will was found invalid, you would inherit from the writer of the will.
The challenge of a will can void the entire will or just a part of it. Most challenges to a will involve the capacity of the writer of the will and whether there was fraud or undue influence in the writing of the will.
Here, the challenge to the will is more complex than whether Frank Mandelbaum had the mental capacity to know what he was doing. We can look forward to seeing how the Surrogacy Court deals with this requirement that a gay man marry a woman, so we can know better what conditions we can put on testamentary gifts.
- Looking for a New York Estate Lawyer? (FindLaw)
- Revoking, Challenging or Changing a Will (FindLaw)
- Estate Planning: What Is The Best Way For You To Leave Your Assets? (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)