What are a child’s rights to their parent’s estate if they were written out of the Will?

My father just passed; he made a new Will 3 years ago after we had a falling out. We made up about a year later after he suffered a stroke. In fact, he lived with me for 7 months and I cared for him until about a month ago. He was recovered and went home but soon passed from pneumonia. I finally got the copy of his Will; it stated that as pertaining to his only child and heir, that I was to be treated as if I had predeceased him. However, he told me more than a handful of times, that I was going to receive all his estate. He left his dog to his brother along with $10,000 to b used to take care of the dog. I’m keeping the dog because he doesn’t want him. What are my rights to the money intended for the dog?

Asked on June 8, 2014 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You have no rights to the money (unless the will specifically said that in the event the brother doesn't want to take care of the dog, whomever takes the dog in gets the money) and your father had every legal right to disinherit you (write you out of the will)--it may be immoral or unfair, especially given that you cared for him, but it is legal. The law does not force a parent to leave anything to adult children who are mentlally competent.

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