Contesting a Will

I have two questions. Can a will override a contractual agreement between the person who’s will it is and another party. In other words, if the person with the will makes an written agreement, can he write in his will something that is in violation of that agreement.The other question has to do with this same person who in two previous wills left his property to his step daughters in law with each will indicating that he had already provided for his natural born daughter in his life time but in his final will left his property to his natural daughter instead. Is there any basis for contesting the will based upon this? The property in question was signed over the man by his wife with the understanding that he would will this property to her daughters (the man’s step daughters. His last will violated this understanding. These situations took place in North Carolina. Thank you.

Asked on June 7, 2009 under Estate Planning, New York


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

When a person signs a Last Will and Testament, there is usually language placed in the will being signed that says that all prior wills are revoked.  The latest Will is the one that the heirs try and submit to the probate court.  It sounds like you have a Will contest on your hands: a legal filing of objections to the Will submitted to the Court. You need to have a lawyer look at the contractual agreement and the latest Will.  You will probably want to try and set aside the latest will because of the contract.  That can be difficult and a lawyer will let you know your options.   

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.