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I suspect a Last Will and Testament was signed under duress and undue influence

Palm Springs, CA |

My brothers and myself have received a Last Will and Testament. After almost a year of my fathers passing, his girlfriend, who he was never married to, but were together for 19 years, went to her local courthouse and filed the will for safe keeping. At that time, she was charged with (Without going in full detail) pc 171b(a)(1). The date of the will is signed September 12th of 2012. He passed October 2nd of 2012. In which he had a stroke September 30th and was basically unconscious and passed in his sleep a few nights later. During the time of the will being signed, he was on a pain patch implanted in his back. Where every other hour or two, the patch released morphine and other drugs. He would be in and out of sleep most of the day and night.

I apologize for not giving full detail. I was in the process of writing out the full question, but I was given an error and the page reloaded on me. My question is, what can we do to contest a will in which we believe my father was under duress and undue influence during the time of him signing the will? We do not know what to do, what steps to take and where to go from here. She has already sold many things of my fathers, in which has resulted in at least 80,000$ or more. Including his car and other things. The will that was given to us is not notarized, nor initialed from my father. Just his signature. We believed at first that the signature was not authentic, but because of him being heavily medicated with morphine and other drugs, this could have caused the signature to not look authentic or invalid. We are trying to carry out our fathers will, but we are not able to do so with such limited information because his girlfriend is refusing to speak, communicate or keep in contact with us.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

There was no question asked here so I am not sure as to what you are asking. I suggest that you file a petition to probate your father's estate.

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Posted

Your father's girlfriend should have have been able to sell anything of your father's unless she petitioned the court to probate the will and received Letters. If this was the case you should have received notice of that petition. Do you know what assets your father had? Did he own a home? Bank accounts? Did he have a pension? I strongly suggest you wait no longer and either file a petition for probate or a petition to determine entitlement (based on the overall value and assets of your father's estate) and bring all of this to the light of the court.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your reply. We received no notifications of anything. The only thing we received was a scanned copy from a Post Master company through email of the will. That's basically it. As far as assets go, he had many. He had a Chevelle that was just sold for 15,000$. The car was sold and signed by her son, not her. My brother offered her 20,000$ for the car, but she denied him. He just recently went and picked up the car from the buyer for 17,000$. Without the original motor. He has a heating and air conditioning business that brought in 100,000$ a year. Which was supposed to be given to my middle brother who continues to work through that business. She has no name or ownership of the property. Contractors license was through my father. She sold another vehicle of his for 30,000$ and many guns that my dad owned. Everything was sold through her son. He lived in a home that is worth 1.1 million. Also another home that is jointly owned through him and his girlfriend. Bank accounts, yes. I'm not sure about pension. But I can only assume that he did. He also had life insurance. I'm not the most wealthy person, so I am having a hard time trying to retain a lawyer that is experienced in probate. So I'm trying to find legal advice as to what to do. Doing this myself would probably not be the best of ideas without the help of an attorney.

Christine James

Christine James

Posted

I certainly don't recommend doing this without an attorney and would suggest filing a petition for probate, at a minimum, immediately. I would also recommend doing a title search to check the titles to the properties and make sure there is no funny business going on there. Many attorneys will work with you on fees. It sounds like you have a strong case.

Posted

You need to retain a probate attorney in the area where your father lived to help you. There are many questionable things going on here according to the information you presented and you need legal advice to protect your interests.

The above answer is not to be considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should consult your attorney for specific legal advice as to your individual situation.

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Posted

I am sorry to read of your father's passing. It is not unusual for a man to leave his estate to his long term companion. That they were not married does not really matter. To set aside the will, you need to prove either your father lacked capacity (being on paid medication or having a stroke are not enough, absent more facts) or the will was the result of undue influence. The latter is extremely hard to prove, since he lived with this woman for 19 years. In short, you have a large evidentiary burden to overcome. Unless the estate is large, or a doctor treating your father at the time the will was signed is willing to say there was no chance your father was able to sign a will at the time, your successful challenge of the will is unlikely.

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