Do I have the right to question my grandfather’s will and trust

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do I have the right to question my grandfather’s will and trust

My grandfather told me, many times that he had my mom and his grand kids in his will and we would get money when he passes away. He was a widower and got remarried in his late eyes and just died recently at the age of 95 years old. I waited about 8 weeks after he passed, cause I was hearing nothing to ask his current wife about the will and she proceeded to explain to me, that we would not get anything until she died…..What I know for a fact, just a year or so ago, she took him to change his will, that is quite shady to say the lease. Is there anything my family and I can do? My uncle Sandy was the executor of the will until recently, when she had things changed. What legal recourse do we have, if any?

Asked on April 18, 2017 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can try to challenge it, but will only succeed if you can show one or more of the following:
1) Your grandfather was mentally incompetent when he changed the will;
2) The current wife threated, coerced, etc. him--using actually illegal threats, not just "emotional blackmail," which is perfectly legal--to make the change;
3) The current wife defrauded or deceived him in some way, such as by tricking him into signing papers other than the ones he though he was signing;
4) Your grandfather was, during the time leading up to the will change, essentially a "shut in" and the wife was his only link to the world--she used that position of power ("undue influence") to overbear his own will or preferences and get the changes made; or 
5) The wife forged the new will or his signature--that is, he did not really make the change or sign it.
Other than as the above, an adult is allowed to change his will whenever he wants, regardless of what he previously told people.
If you want to try and challenge it, you do so by filing a lawsuit in chancery court (a part or division of county court) in the county in which he had lived. This is a fairly complicated sort of lawsuit: you would be well advised to hire an attorney to help you. (If there is not enough money at stake to justify a lawyer, it is probably not worth taking legal action.)
Be aware that since it is reasonable to leave one's estate to one's wife, so it would be natural to change the will when remarrying, it may be very difficult to convince a court there was anything wrong here.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption