My grandmother's will lists all her children and dead uncle and not my father who predeceased her. Can I contest the will?

Asked over 1 year ago - Boston, MA

My grandmother was very fond of my father almost like a favorite son. My uncles believe their sister the executrix, my aunt, may have misled my grandmother from including him in her will. I would like to contest the will and up until recently have I received a copy of the will including a waiver her attorney drafted and is requesting I sign to continue the sale of the estate. My question is if my father whom she loved dearly is not listed in her will and testament, why does the attorney need any intervention on my behalf? The executrix being in California makes it much harder. What legal recourse do I have? Can I contest her as executor of the estate?

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    Answered . If the Will is to be contested, it would be in the state where it is being offered for probate. That should be where your grandmother resided. You are being notified of the probate of the Will because you would be an intestate heir, and are excluded from the Will because your father was not mentioned. A Will contest is a difficult and expensive undertaking. Consult with an estate litgation attorney in the state where the Will is being offered for probate before you sign anything.

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    Answered . I am very sorry for your losses.

    The first question I would ask is where did your grandmother live when she died? If California, you should re-post in California forum.

    Next, I would say that without seeing the will itself, and knowing a bit more about the family dynamics, it would be difficult to say. It is entirely possible that your grandmother was (a) capable of making a will and (b) knew exactly what her estate was and who her heirs were, and still, very deliberately "disinherited" your father -- she may very well have been extremely angry at him for dying before she did -- which sounds crazy, but does not mean she was -- death does strange things to/with people's emotions.

    Best wishes to you.

    No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on... more
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    Answered . If you are thinking about contesting the will, and you have some concrete grounds for doing so, you should speak with an attorney immediately. You will need to formally file papers within a short time frame in order to intervene and conduct some discovery into whether grounds for a will contest can be substantiated. Remember, you cannot contest a will because you think it is unfair or not how you would have drafted it, so long as the person who drafted it was competent to do so and free of undue influence and coercion.

    One final note - if the estate is being probated in California, you need to speak to a California attorney right away.

    Christopher Vaughn-Martel is a Massachusetts lawyer with the firm of Vaughn-Martel Law in Boston, Massachusetts.... more
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    Answered . It is quite difficult to contest a will unless you have strong circumstantial or actual evidence of fraud, duress, undue influence or mistake. If you and your uncles are on the same page, you should get together and consult with a probate litigator in the state where the estate is being probated to explore whether you have a strong enough case to make a contest worthwhile. You should also be aware that will contests can get very expensive, because they frequently require hiring medical experts to review the decedent's medical records and to testify about what they found.

    E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are... more

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