Can I legally contest my father’s Will?

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Can I legally contest my father’s Will?

My father pasted away a couple of weeks ago and willed his girlfriend of 3 years everything. I believe that there was influence because he was suffering from cancer that was speading. The will mentioned my bother but left him nothing with no reason specified, it also mentioned my son as his grandson as a beneficiary if his girlfriend and 2 other people died prior but it did not mention me at all. I am the daughter from a prior relationship so my brother and I have different mothers. My father did marry my brothers mom but not mine, my brothers mom died about 4 years ago while still married the my father. Though my father did not sign my birth certificate I have been a part of his life since birth and there was court ordered child support for 18 years. Do I have the right to contest this Will?

Asked on July 9, 2016 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you have the right to file a challenge: you would have to show that but for fraud, duress, coercion, lack of mental capacity (i.e. that he was incompetent), or undue influence--which means being influenced by someone with significant power over him or upon whom he depended to make a will *other than the one he would have made anyway*--he would have made a different will and left something to you.
Practically, there is reason to doubt that you would prevail based on what you write: it is not unreasonable for someone to leave everything to his girlfriend of three years--i.e. to someone he was living with and whom, who presumably helped care for him during his final illness and who would have inherited everything under intestate succession if there had been no will. It is also no unreasonable to not leave something to a child whose mother he never married and whose birth certificate he did not sign, and whom he (based on what you write) apparently only provided support to pursuant to a court order. So you can bring your challenge, but unfortunately, nothing you have written suggests you will win: the will you opposing seems likely to be upheld.


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