What to do if my uncle was coerced into leaving his money to the Salvation Army?

My uncle had a Will made up leaving everything to my mom. When he died a few years ago, the Will that was found showed he left everything to Salvation Army. My uncle never owned anything – car, house, furniture. He lived like a homeless person and shopped at the Salvation Army. Some people from there began visiting him and then had him sign a paper. When he died we found out he left his money to the Salvation Army. He was not of sound mind. Is there anything we can do to get our uncle’s money?

Asked on November 26, 2011 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

IF you can show that he was mentally incompetent at the time he changed his will (or made a new one) and that somone exerted undue influence over time to get him to leave money to the Salvation Army, you could possibly have the will set aside in favor of either an earlier will, or  so that his assets will pass by intestate succession (in which case surving spouse, if any, children, if any, surviving parents, if any, and siblings,  like your mother, will take).

Challenging a will is not an easy or simple process; you should consult with a trusts and estate attorney about this situation. If there's no enough money at stake to make it worthwhile to retain a lawyer, it's probably not worth taking any action.


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