If an old will can be shown to no longer reflect the wishes of the deceased, can it be successfully challenged, if necessary?

Asked about 1 year ago - Miami, FL

My sister, 74, died recently. Childless and widowed in 1994, she had only one close relative: me. Her will, done in 2000, left her house to her then live-in boyfriend, who moved after their 2004 break-up. He won't return my calls, so I'm clueless about his intentions. He's aware the house is "underwater." The attorney assigned as personal rep refused the case, as the estate has little value and there's no fee payer. The will includes two friends who died several years ago. My sister knew it needed updating but, as a champion procrastinator, saw no urgency to deal with such unpleasantness. When my lady died in 2004, she asked me to move in, as we truly needed each other. I know she'd want me to remain here if I can arrange it financially. Many of her friends have offered to testify to that.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Christopher Quinn Wintter

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . The probate court enforces the Last Will. The court will not change a Will that the decedent herself did not change. You have no legal basis to challenge the document based on the facts you describe. Your friends testimony as to what the decedent would want is inadmissible and irrelevant.

    In any event, the estate has no money and the real estate is underwater. It would be a waste of money to challenge the will even if you could. Successful will contests are expensive.

  2. Carol Anne Johnson

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . If the Last Will was valid (two witnesses, etc.) and there is no new Will, then you will be wasting your money if you hire an attorney to see if it can be challenged - it can't. Not in FL. Not based on the information here. Sorry!

    Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : carol@caroljohnsonlaw.com : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate,... more
  3. Celia R Reed

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . There is presumption that a valid Last Will reflects the decedent's last wishes. In order to preserve the integrity of wills in general, the courts do not allow testimony as to the decedent's changed or newer wishes, as this would make almost every will into a will contest. In your case, it's possible that you can buy the house as it's underwater and no one seems to want it.

    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

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    Answered . The Will stands. Oral expressions of intent are not enforceable. I do not see any basis for contesting the Will under these facts.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ******... more
  5. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Hire counsel to see if a challenge can be made

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