What can we do if our father passed away about 3 weeks ago and our stepmother will not honor his wishes?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can we do if our father passed away about 3 weeks ago and our stepmother will not honor his wishes?

He had a Will and also wrote up a document (signed and dated) stating what possessions in his house that he wanted his children, grandchildren and wife (my stepmother) to have. In his Will, he gave half of the house to my brothers and I (and my stepmother owns the other half). She now,has decided that we cannot take anything out of the house, which clearly wasn’t my father’s wish. He wanted his personal possessions (unless otherwise stated in the document) to go to his children – my brothers and I. My stepmother has threatened to call the police if we take anything from the house. They were married 15 years and she has contacted an attorney.

Asked on January 7, 2016 under Estate Planning, Arizona


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

A document other than the will, unless it is clearly stated to be a codicile to the will, is not going to be legally binding in the event of death.  If your stepmother is the executor, so long as she abides by the language of the will, her actions are legal.  There is no legal obligation to follow a decedent's wishes if they are expressed outside the will.

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