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05-09-2019 07:17 AM
Why are you asking? Are you planning to contest a Will? If you are, you need to get an attorney ASAP. Don't bother with the experiences/opinions of others. Each case is different and very complex.
05-09-2019 07:43 AM
I don't want to go into a lot of personal details, but I was the executor of an estate years ago & someone got a lawyer to notify me that they dispute the distribution of assets, which I determined was a precursor to a legal claim/contest. I knew the will was exactly what the person wanted, under no pressure from anyone & an excellent lawyer drew it all up & filed it following all legal guidelines.
To legally contest a will, you need a legal reason, not just an opinion. But I would like to hear from others.
I was not looking forward to the potential fight and eventually they dropped the issue.
05-09-2019 07:53 AM
What ever you do it needs to be for a good amount of money and know that you are partly correct on what has been done that it not correct. It costs to talk to a lawyer 15 minutes at a time and they charge really high rates.
05-09-2019 08:04 AM - edited 05-09-2019 01:57 PM
No, but if it involves you (I will assume its you for the purpose of this post), I suggest getting a lawyer, but also talk to others who have gone through it so you learn some of the experiences, pitfalls and heartaches, mistakes you don't want to make, particularly between siblings, that lawyers often don't divulge. There's much more to it than the legal process.
One suggestion...you might want to look into the mental state of the person whose will is at question when it was written...and is someone in the will who helped the person write it.
If this is a parent and you feel you were slighted, you must decide if it's worth it. The outcome is you'd win or lose, but could lose the relationship of a family member for the rest of your life even if you lost.
I've seen some outcomes where wills weren't contested, siblings and relatives no longer talk to each other.
05-09-2019 08:05 AM
Any contract can be contested and will is considered a contract. That doesn't mean it's an easy thing to do or not expensive; just the opposite.
I know of 2 families who contested a will of a deceased parent. Two different situations that I'm told are very common and are often sited as the reason the will being contested.
In one case, the family had been fighting against the new spouse as they believed she was abusing/withholding care from their father. A lawyer they had never heard of had changed the will 6 months or so before the father died. End result was they won and she did jail time.
In the other situation, it involved members of my family. A cousin contested the will of her father when it was discovered he had left nothing money-wise to her. My uncle was a millionaire many times over with multiples homes, 2 jets, etc and a extremely successful business. Her older brother took over the company, the next brother received property (one of the homes) and everything else went to her mother (my aunt). She wasn't left anything because he had bought her a condo, a house and very profitable stock portfolio. That wasn't enough, however. In that case, she lost. Her brothers never spoke to her again and her mother vowed to never as well. Fast forward 20 years and my aunt, now in her early 90's, developed cancer. My cousin moved her in to her house and took care of her. When my aunt died, guess who received EVERYTHING? My cousin. Her brothers are now contesting the will.
05-09-2019 08:10 AM
I have never contested a will, but I will say the lawyer sometimes makes more than you get, so be careful.
Get rates established and in writing before you do anything with a lawyer. If I can help anyone not get stung, it will make me feel a little better.
And most certainly if it is a "family friend" you are dealing with. You NEVER know.
05-09-2019 08:17 AM - edited 05-09-2019 08:21 AM
My Dad was Executor for his Uncle's will. The Uncle had no children so his will stated that his assets were to be divided between his brothers and sisters. There were 18 siblings. A few had passed so their portion was to go to their offspring.
A Bank was the trustee of his estate. The will was 18 pages long and handwritten. The man was meticulous about everything. After he died another will appeared. It was 3 lines long, misspelled his wife's name and was witnessed by a TV repairman who happened to be in the hospital room (he was dying of cancer and only lived about another 2 months). This will left all his assets to a lady who he met on a cruise. She lived in Germany.
I think I counted 8 lawyers who were involved on our family's side. It dragged on for many years. So between the bank and all the lawyers much of the assets dwindled away. And the Judge in Orphan's Court in Philadelphia rulled in favor of the German lady that my Uncle met on a cruise. They had exchanged a few letters (my Uncle kept copies) but that was the extent of the relationship. And his letters confirmed that. She was married and was 40 years younger than him.
So be careful. There will be many laywyer fees and the Judge may not see things the same way you do.
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