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If my adoptive father passes away (and he legally adopted me), and left me out of his will am i able to protest the will?

Allentown, PA |

My adoptive father recently passed away, I discovered there was a will, but that I was left out of the will. Is there anything I can do about it?

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Attorney answers 3


Contesting a will is not easy. Unless there is evidence of fraud, forgery, duress, or undue influence, I would say that you are not likely to succeed. And even if there is evidence that your father was influenced or pressured, it is very difficult to prove.

That being said, you do have the right to contest the will. If you choose to do so, make sure you consult with an attorney first.

Please remember to mark this answer as “Helpful” or “Best Answer” if appropriate. Thank you.


Marshall Chriswell

Law Offices of Marshall D. Chriswell
714 Philadelphia St., Suite 200
Indiana, PA 15701
(888) 438-5977
(724) 465-5826


Marshall D. Chriswell is a civil practitioner with offices in Indiana and Clearfield Counties. Mr. Chriswell's practice emphasizes Wills & Estate Planning, Probate, Real Estate, and general civil disputes.


Mr. Chriswell provides free initial consultations, and will gladly meet clients in their homes upon request, including on the evenings or weekends.

This communication does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, feel free to contact our offices.


Mr. Chriswell is right, contesting a will is difficult. I have a question, though: Was the will written before he adopted you? If so, I can provide a bit more analysis for you. Contesting a will in that instance is a bit easier (but by no means easy). If you were adopted after the will, you would likely have a right to a share of the estate equal to the amount you would have taken if your father had died without a will, unless you were provided for in another way after your adoption., e.g., in a life insurance policy.

Please provide an answer to my question of when the will was made, and I can try to help you a bit more. Just add a comment to my answer, thanks.

This advice being provided in no way represents the formation of a lawyer client relationship. This is advice only based on limited information. The advice seeker should seek an in-person meeting with a qualified attorney to discuss his or her issue.


My colleagues are correct. As an adopted child you would have standing to contest the will. Having standing to bring the contest does not mean that you will automatically win, all will contests are challenging, as there is a presumption that the document is valid. The date of the will is going to play an important role here; was it drafted prior to your adoption? You should consult with an experienced probate litigator to explore your situation.

When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.

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