Questionable Wills: When You've Been Left Out Of An Inheritance
Wills that are carefully written can exclude a traditional heir for any number of reasons. If your parent is recently deceased, and you are surprised to find you are no longer an heir, you may have cause to fight for an inheritance in court. There are many times when a person who is dying is taken advantage of by people caring for them, convinced that those in their lives shouldn't inherit their estate. If you were in previous wills and no changes in your relationship occurred, it's time to investigate the situation further with the help of a family attorney.
You Believe the Will Was Changed Under Duress
If you are a family member of a deceased individual and you were in a previous will, the least you can do is try to determine why you were left out of the new will. If you have no idea why the will was changed, you have the right to investigate why the will may have been changed. At times, wills are changed under duress, or pressure from a friend, relative, or caretaker. If you believe that your parent was coerced into changing their will to disinherit you and provide money to someone new, you have the right to contest the will in court.
Mental Capacity May Be In Question
If your parent was sick for awhile and their mental capacity continued to deteriorate, signing a will during this time is questionable at best. If your parent signed their will when they were no longer able to think clearly, you may be able to fight the new will by claiming they were not mentally capable of signing the new will. While your parent has the right to do what they want with their assets, their previous behavior can help determine their true wishes. A will signed when a person is not of sound mind is considered invalid.
When you have a parent that dies and you are left out of their will unexpectedly, you have the right to contest the will. Depending on when the new will was signed and the conditions under which it was written, you may be entitled to a portion of the estate as if you were not specifically disinherited. You will need to retain a lawyer, like those at Warfield Darrah & Erdmann, to help you determine your rights, and it will take some time to sift through any wills your parent created during their lifetime.