Heir to will

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Heir to will

My mom and stepdad set up a will and excluded all children except my little
sister. My stepdad died and my oldest sister is taking care of my mom. My mom
has dementia and my little sister refuses to care for her and she is supposed to
be caretaker. My oldest sister cares for her so is there a way my oldest sister
can contest the will?

Asked on June 10, 2019 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A valid will contest--that is, one that might win or work, and is not just a waste of everyone's time and money--will be based on one of the following:
1) Evidence that the person(s) setting up the will was not mentally competent at the time they created it--this will require medical evidence (e.g. testimony by the doctor(s) who treated the person at that time).
2) Evidence that the will was the result of duress or coercion--that is, illegal threats, like of violence or blackmail. Mere emotional manipulation ("I'll never talk to you again unless you leave everything to me") doesn't count legally, since the person being manipulated could choose to say "no" and accept the consequences.
3) Evidence that the will was the product of "undue influence": that the person who benefitted was in such a position of control, power and influence (e.g. the caregiver of someone with mobility problems, and so who was that person's "lifeline" to the world) that they "overpowered" the testator's (person making the will) on free choice.
4) Evidence that that the will was forged or is the product of fraud--for example, that the testator was shown one will, then a different one was substituted for their signature.
5) Evidence that the will not signed or witnessed according to your state's laws.
We keep saying evidence because in court, it does not matter what you believe or are certain of--only what you can prove.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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