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

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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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer
Posted

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.

Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to Avvo questions are for general information purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your clear explanation. I have to agree this is becoming expensive. It's better to just let the estate go through probate. My uncles mean well and are upset about my father's exclusion from the will. The estate is located in California. We will never know what my grandmother's intentions were but I am sure that the discord between the siblings would not be one of them. Thank you to all who took the time to read and respond to my post. I truly appreciate your kindness. Best Wishes.

Joseph Jonathan Brophy

Joseph Jonathan Brophy

Posted

Will contests can get ugly as well as expensive and it's a good idea to avoid them if possible. Thanks for your "best answer" vote.

Posted

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 very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside, particularly as it relates to family law, child support, custody and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") issues, including 209A abuse-prevention restraining orders (a/k/a "ROs" in legal-speak), regarding un-emancipated children, under the age of 22.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your kind response. It's possible my grandmother knew this might happen and purposely left him out. And these days nothing sounds crazy. Best Wishes

Julie Court Molloy

Julie Court Molloy

Posted

You are most welcome. It is NOT you -- your questions are very astute! I wish you all the very best.

Posted

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. All answers are based on generalized Massachusetts law and the limited facts presented by the questioner. All answers are provided to the general public for educational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question. If you would like an attorney with Vaughn-Martel Law to review your specific situation and provide you with legal options or information specific to you, you may schedule a telephone or office by calling 617-357-4898 or visiting us at www.vaughnmartel.com. Our office charges $100.00 for a consultation, and applies your consultation fee to your first bill if the Firm is hired to perform further work.

Posted

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 for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for sharing your experience, knowledge and time. After reading everyone's responses I found some info in California's Probate Codes 6110-6113. I also agree with your response about not having tangible proof of coercion, duress or otherwise. Although my uncles in my grandmother's will mean well and are also contesting my aunt as executrix, I may need to explain to them to let this one pass. All the hearsay in the world won't prove or change anything. It's a small estate, the home. All I wanted out of this was some of her possessions such as photographs and memories of her. Again If I didn't personally respond to your post I apologize but remember my appreciation in this matter. Your time is valuable as is the knowledge. I wish the best to you and to your families. Take care

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