can i contest my father’s will?

my father is 90 years old and has left me and my brother almost nothing in this will. he is still living but I think he has been influenced by my niece – he has left her everything in his will. he has had 2 minor strokes in the last few years.

Asked on August 26, 2016 under Estate Planning, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, a will cannot be contested while the testator (person making the will) is alive. A will has no effect until the person dies; before that happens, the person could revoke it, revise it, replace it with a new will, or else lose, spend, sell, or give away his assets, so the things the will are supposed to distribute aren't owned by him, etc. Or beneficiaries could predecease the testator and so not inherit for that reason. The will could be made moot in many ways, and/or be changed so that there is no issue or problem with it. It is premature to challenge the will before the testator's death, since the situation now may have nothing to do with how assets will be distributed after death; in legal terminology, the issue is not yet "ripe." The law only deals with actual issues or problems or conflicts, not ones that could occur, but might not; therefore, you cannot challenge the will until your father passes away.

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.