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Can you change the terms of a will by mutual agreement of beneficiaries, instead of litigating over original will?

Benicia, CA |

Father is deceased and before probate began, there were threats to contest the will. Parties have worked things out. Does the original will go into probate, with the new "agreement" in place?

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Attorney answers 3


Yes. Prepare a settlement agreement telling the court of the reason for the disagreement and what the settlement is. Have the court approve the agreement and the terms will need to be made part of the final order.

Bernard Harley Greenberg

Bernard Harley Greenberg


In a UPC state, the estate settlement may not need to be filed with the Court if the estate is being administered informally and ALL parties agree.

Mary Lynn Symons

Mary Lynn Symons


California is NOT a UPC (Uniform Probate Code) state.


You can settle pretty much anything out of court process; in fact, it is generally preferable to do so. However, you should make sure that procedurally you get it all done correctly with the court.

THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The answer to question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. Mrs. Cook is licensed to practice law throughout the state of California with offices in San Diego County. She is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States, and is also licensed to practice before the United States Tax Court. IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, please be advised that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used or relied upon, and cannot be used or relied upon, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.


Whether a Will must be probated is a separate question from how to complete an estate settlement agreement. All the parties and their counsel should meet with the Personal Representative and their counsel to work on the resolution to this question.

This AVVO answer does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. This answer may also not be used in any manner to either attempt to or actually evade any federal taxes or penalties.

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