Step-mother situation – father passed first. Most everything left to step-daughter.

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Step-mother situation – father passed first. Most everything left to step-daughter.

Parents father and step-mother both passed, her most recently. The Will is in probate. I obtained a copy and found that minimal amount of money was left to me and my sibling, while the rest, including the home was left to the step-sister. We know our father would not have wanted it that way. We know there was a Will before our father passed that obviously changed. The copy I recently obtained was dated 5 months after father’s passing a few years ago. They were married 40 years. Is there any chance through contesting, that the Will be more evenly distributed.

Asked on July 21, 2019 under Estate Planning, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A person can change their will and disinherit children, so an unfair or unexpected distribution is not by itself grounds for a successful challenge. But if there is evidence that the will was forged or the product of fraud--i.e not actually the deceased's will, or not actually executed (signed) by him or her--that would be grounds for a challenge. You write that the will is dated 5 months after your father's passing--obviously someone cannot create or sign a will after their death. So if this was your father's will and it's dated after his death, that would be good grounds for a challenge.
However, if your father died before your stepmother and then she changed her will to leave most of the estate to her own daughter (your stepsister), that is perfectly legal: nothing requires her to follow what she and her deceased husband had previously agreed to, and she can her will after he dies.


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