What is the cost to remove someone from a will?

My brother and I are having and issue with my father’s will.
It includes a sister that was not raised with my brother and
I. It was recently discovered that the sister is a half
sister with no blood link to my father, though her maiden
name is the same as my father. What would the cost we be
remove her from my fathers will? He is still living and we
are trying to convince him to do it. He seems to want to
leave well enough alone because he doesn’t want to pay a
large amount to have her removed, but my brother and I feel
quite differently. We would like to protect what belongs to
us even if it is nothing in the end. We both feel as though
she should not have a say, or have third of anything.

Asked on September 26, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It can cost nothing or almost nothing: there is no legal requirement to have a lawyer to make, revise, change, or replace a will. Your father could himself (or with your help) draft a one-page addendum or codicil to the will stating that your sister will not inherit and that her share will go to whomever else he wants (e.g. you and your brother). As long as it is propertly signed, witnessed, and notaritzed, it is valid and will remove her. (The only cost would the notary's small fee.) Or he could similarly draft, then have signed, witnessed, and notarized, a completely new will, which states, it replaces the earlier one, which does not include her. The codicil or new will should be signed, witnessed, and notarized the same way the original will was (also double check your state's rules on this subject, which you can "Google", to make sure you are doing this right).
Of course, a lawyer is helpful to make sure that everything is written and done correctly. A lawyer will cost whatever he/she charges; you can call around and price out different lawyers to get one you can afford. For comparison, in NJ, I would do a simple will like this, and make sure it is signed, etc. properly, for $500. 

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