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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.

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 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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