Can the terms of the Will be changed by the surviving spouse?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can the terms of the Will be changed by the surviving spouse?

My mother and father went and drew up a Will 13 years ago. My father has 4 children total, including 2 by my mother. What I want to know is if my mother drew up a Will and

my father drew up a Will giving me 60% of the estate, can my mother override that,

although she has her own Will (which I believe to be giving me the same percentage)? Can she override it and change it in my father’s last testament and Will?

Asked on September 29, 2016 under Estate Planning, District of Columbia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If your father has already passed away (which is what I assume you mean by "surviving spouse") it is too late for *anyone* to change your father's will: once a person passes away, his or her will is carried out as it existed at the moment he or she dies.
If your father is still alive, *he* can change his will, but no other person--not even his spouse--can change it against his will. The most she could do is try to convince him that he should change it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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