In 2010 the executor of the will, my cousin said there was lotsa of money for my Dad and me, even though he passed away in Nov. 2009. When my Aunt died, my cousin didn't even call to let me know that she died. Now she says that there is nothing in my Aunt's will/estate, should I contest this will? One problem, the will has been filed in a Surrogate Indian Court with all her family members working at the court. What can I do?
Elder Law Attorney
I am somewhat confused by your inquiry, as there are really two different issues mentioned. First, you mention that you were supposed to be named under the will. You never mention that you ultimately were not named in the will that was probated. Have you seen a copy of the will that was probated? If you believed you were to be named but you weren't, and you were close to your aunt and believe she had intended to provide for you in the will, then you may have a reason to challenge the will. You will have to prove that your aunt was unduly influenced in executing the will that was admitted to probate, which is a difficult argument to prove.
Secondly, you mention that your cousin ultimately stated that there was no money or assets in your aunt's estate. Your aunt could have had a sizeable fortune; however, if all of her accounts were "payable on death" or "beneficiary designated," then those accounts would be distributable to the named beneficiaries on each of those accounts/assets, regardless of her will provisions. If this was the case and you were not a named beneficiary on one of those accounts, you may not inherit anything from your aunt's estate.
If you still have questions regarding your options at this time, I recommend you contact a probate attorney in your area to discuss your rights.
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First, request a copy of the will from the courthouse. Also request any other documentation, especially an inventory filed with the court. Second, you need to find an estates attorney in IA to assist in determining whether you have any rights to pursue and if so to bring a challange to the currently probated will. Be aware that these type of will contests are hard to win and the burden of proof is on you to prove your case. Get with an estates litigation attorney in IA to know conclusively where you stand. No one at this forum can give you that answer since the facts and evidence have to be reviewed in a face to face meeting to determine your chances.
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