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

Asked about 1 year ago - 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.

Additional information

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. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  2. Steven M Zelinger

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  3. Celia R Reed

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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-... more
  4. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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. ******... more

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