What to do about a newly found Will?

My grandaunt inherited a large sum of money and stocks from her sister. When my grandaunt died her nephew showed up and took the Will showing where my grandaunt had inherited this and said the Will said it was to go to charity. Here is the problem, my grandaunt had a Will that we just found 2 days ago and it states that my grandpa was her heir and if he has already passed then his kids would be heirs. Now when the nephew took this Will and left with it. However, it wasn’t his to take, his name wasn’t on my grandaunt’s Will. What can we do? We now think the nephew was crooked.

Asked on November 4, 2011 under Estate Planning, Missouri


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there were two Wills, you need to determine which Will is in effect and is controlling.  If the later Will says that it revokes all prior Wills, then it is controlling and the provisions of that Will take precedence over the prior Will.  If the later Will does not contain language to the effect that it revokes all prior Wills, then the provisions of the first Will which are not in conflict with the provisions of the second Will are still in effect.  Contradictory provisions in the two Wills would be an issue for a Probate court to resolve.

If the nephew is lying about the earlier Will and if in fact there is only one Will with the provisions you mentioned, you and the other beneficiaries should sue the nephew to recover the money, stocks, etc. that were to go to the beneficiaries of the Will.  Your remedy against the nephew would be to seek a constructive trust.  A constructive trust means the nephew would be required to return what he has wrongfully taken (money, stocks, etc.)  to the estate.

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