Does a family relationship trump being named in a Will?

UPDATED: Jul 25, 2011

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Does a family relationship trump being named in a Will?

Father and stepmother went to a lawyer to have their Will drawn up about a year before they died at ages 88 and 89, repectively. Father died left all to stepmother in his Will. Stepmother died leaving all to stepson in her Will. Stepmother had no children of her own, only numerous nieces and nephews. Her “estate” included a car, trailer home and contents, and about $3,000.00 in the bank. A nephew wants a “cut”. Does he have a case?

Asked on July 25, 2011 Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, he has no case. When the father pre-deceased the stepmother she inherited it all (i.e. the father's estate in its entirety). She then was within her legal bounds to leave her estate as she saw fit. If this was to her stepson then, then absent some showing of coersion or the like on his part, there is nothing to contest. On the face of it, the nephew has no claim on the estate. The fact is that there is no automatic inheritance rights for blood relatives.

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