Learn Important Probate Essentials, including key things that go wrong in an estate, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen.
Anyone can draft a will leaving their estate to anyone they chose, even pets. However, when dealing with probating an estate the answer is usually never that simple. There are numerous factors that go into how an estate could be administered. I will discuss some details about being disinherited and how this situation might unfold in a probate court.
If you are a natural born or adopted child of a person who has passed away by law you are an heir to their estate. In order to inherit from your parent(s) estate one of two scenarios would need to happen. The first would be if your parent(s) passed away without a last will and testament their estate would be distributed in accordance with intestate laws which are laid out in state statutes. The second scenario would be that your parent(s) had executed a last will and testament that named you as a beneficiary to their estate.
However, if your parents executed a will that specifically leaves you out of inheriting from the estate there are a couple options that you could possibly pursue to object to the distribution of the estate according to the will. First, you would need a plausible reason as to why the will should be considered invalid. There are many reasons you could use to object to the validity of a will. Some common reasons to object to a will’s validity are incapacity and undue influence. If you believe your parent(s) were not in the proper state of mind to execute a will the argument of incapacity would be a viable one to pursue. However, the capacity needed to execute a will is very low. You essentially only have to be able to know who you are, what you have, and who you are giving it to.
To prove a will is invalid due to undue influence you would have to show the court that the testator (person who executed the will) was greatly influenced in their decision making by someone else, and their freedom of volition was destroyed. It must be proven that the wishes of another person replaced those of the testator.
This is just a general overview, and the legal process for objecting to a will’s validity can become quite complicated and intricate. Our office always recommends speaking with a qualified probate attorney to discuss the options available to you based on your specific situation. Contact us for a complimentary consultation to look at your options.
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