How can I protect against my stepmother changing my father’s Will?

My father passed away and in their Will – my father and stepmother – they have named my sister and stepmother’s daughters as executors once my stepmother passes away. When this happens, the remaining estate is divided between my sister, brothers and I and my stepmother’s 3 children. Do I have any legal right to have a copy for future use? And now that my father is gone, what could keep my step mother from changing the Will and naming her daughters as sole beneficiaries? Could she do that? I am afraid that all my father’s remaining belongings – family heirlooms especially could be sold – without any regard as to returning them to “the family” and the proceeds go to her daughters. No relationship w/d

Asked on November 12, 2015 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) No, you do't have a legal right to a copy of the will: the law does  not require tht copies of the will be given to beneficiaries of it (people who will inherit under the will).
2) If you think that the will has been alterated, you can bring a legal action in surrogates or chancery court challenging it. The court will take testimony, look at the text of the will and facts, the siganture(s) on the will, etc. and decide what happened. This is not say that, obviously, a will cannot be alterated in a convincing way that will stand up to scrutiny and pass muster, but a casual alteration may well be detected.


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