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How difficult is it to contest a will for undue influence in Pennsylvania?

Wilmington, DE |

My uncle who was never married or had children had his will changed 20 months before his death and left everything to one of his nephews and his nephews wife. This nephew lived on an adjoining rural property to my uncle. My uncle never had very little positive to say about this uncle and continually expressed a dislike for the nephew's wife. The new will reads that in the event his nephew were to predecease him, everything would go to the nephew's wife. The family has a hard time believing this is what my uncle wanted. The last year of his life as my uncle's health was declining, the nephew did run errands for my uncle for which he received monetary compensation. This nephew was also power of attorney and executor of the estate.

Edit 3rd sentence to read: My uncle expressed many negative comments about his nephew and continually expressed a dislike for the nephew's wife.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Your perception of your uncle did not match what he wrote in his will, but this is not sufficient to claim undue influence. Obviously, the nephew was a big help to his uncle, and even if the uncle did not like the nephew's wife, he may have written his new will in deference to his nephew. We don't always know or understand why someone decides to leave their property to someone, but absent anything else, it appears the will is in order.
    Having said that, it is always prudent to discuss the situation with a probate attorney to see if anything appears amiss.

    Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


  2. This was double posted. See my other answer.

    This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/


  3. I agree with my colleagues. Under these facts, you would have an extremely difficult time contesting this Will. I do not see any suggestion of undue influence in the facts mentioned. What were the circumstances of the Will signing? Was this done by uncle's attorney or did nephew provide a homemade Will or office supply form? There might be a *SMALL* window of opportunity if everything was set up by the nephew and proper procedures were not followed.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


  4. It's not easy. I'm handling the 3rd largest will contest in the history of the US, the 500m du Pont estate for the last 2 years.

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