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Can I contest my mothers will?

Carneys Point, NJ |

My mother wrote me out of her will and is leaving everything to my sister. The house is worth over $400,000. She is writing me out of the will because I called DYFS on her for hitting and verbally abusing my daughter when she had custody of her. She stated that she is sick of my )%^# and does not want anything to do with me. The truth is, she called DYFS on me so many times, my one time calling, does not compare. She has had custody of my kids all of their young lives and now, due to the abuse, I have custody of my daughter. Can she exclude me from her house and assets?

Can I win this case when the time comes?

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Attorney answers 3


Your mother is under no obligation to include you in her will. Will contests are difficult to win. The most common grounds for challenging a will are that the person did not have capacity to make a will or that there was undue influence by a third party that changed the person's intentions. You will have to consult with a lawyer in the state where your mother lives when the time comes to present him or her with the facts and get an opinion whether a contest would be winnable. Possibly you and your mother can patch things up. Good luck.

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Two of the nastiest pieces of litigation I have ever been involved in were will contests. If your mother is determined to be of sound mind, then winning the will contest will be as easy as rolling a 1,000 ton rock up hill. As long as an individual has testamentary capacity, they may do pretty much anything they wish with their earthly possessions in a will. The even worse news is that many wills have an in terrorum clause, meaning that if anyone contests, then they will pay not only their own legal fees, but also the legal fees incurred by the estate to defend itself against the contest, and the challenger also loses any share they may have had in the will.

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This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided in an office consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies.


Yes she may exclude you from her estate. Her assets are exactly that, hers, and she can leave them to your sister, to a charity, or someone she met on the bus so long as her will is prepared properly and she is competent to sign it you have no rights to her property. Assuming she is competent when the Will is signed you would have an extremely difficult time winning a challenge as there is likely a fairly significant documented hsitroy between you and she that would be used by any proponent of the will as justification for the exclusion should arguments of undue influence be made.

Very truly yours,

Ed Smeltzer

NOTE: This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.

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