my adult daughter with cerebral palsy was left out of her fathers will.

what can I do? I don’t feel this is a legitimate will.

Asked on April 13, 2016 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A will is only illegitimate--or voidable--if one or more of the following occured:
1) The testator (person making the will) was mentally incompetent when it was made;
2) The will is not actually that person's will (e.g. someone forged his signature);
3) The will is the product of coercion or duress--threats of violence or criminal acts;
4) The will was procured by "undue influence"--the classic example is a house- or bedbound testator who is completely dependent on a caregiver, which caregiver used his or dominant position of power to get the will made.
Other than as the above, a will is valid, even if it is unfair, unwise, or even cruel. 
If you believe that one of the above occured, your daughter (if she is mentally competent; or her legal guardian, if she is not) may challenge the will in surrogates or probate court by bringing a legal action, but as the challending party, the burden will be on her to provide proof of why and how the will is illegitimate. If the will can be successfully challenged, the decedent's estate (i.e. her father's estate) will pass according to an earlier will, if there is one, by the rules of  intestate succession, if there is no earlier will.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.