Heir to will

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Heir to will

My mom and stepdad set up a will and excluded all children except my little
sister. My stepdad died and my oldest sister is taking care of my mom. My mom
has dementia and my little sister refuses to care for her and she is supposed to
be caretaker. My oldest sister cares for her so is there a way my oldest sister
can contest the will?

Asked on June 10, 2019 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

A valid will contest--that is, one that might win or work, and is not just a waste of everyone's time and money--will be based on one of the following:
1) Evidence that the person(s) setting up the will was not mentally competent at the time they created it--this will require medical evidence (e.g. testimony by the doctor(s) who treated the person at that time).
2) Evidence that the will was the result of duress or coercion--that is, illegal threats, like of violence or blackmail. Mere emotional manipulation ("I'll never talk to you again unless you leave everything to me") doesn't count legally, since the person being manipulated could choose to say "no" and accept the consequences.
3) Evidence that the will was the product of "undue influence": that the person who benefitted was in such a position of control, power and influence (e.g. the caregiver of someone with mobility problems, and so who was that person's "lifeline" to the world) that they "overpowered" the testator's (person making the will) on free choice.
4) Evidence that that the will was forged or is the product of fraud--for example, that the testator was shown one will, then a different one was substituted for their signature.
5) Evidence that the will not signed or witnessed according to your state's laws.
We keep saying evidence because in court, it does not matter what you believe or are certain of--only what you can prove.


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