Does a disinherited child have a right to see the Will?

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Does a disinherited child have a right to see the Will?

My mom’s husband died last week. They had a Will stating everything went to mom (surviving spouse), then to me and my sister after my mother’s death. He disinherited his own child (a daughter) by name in the Will. Today mom got a letter in the mail from a lawyers office, stating his daughter wanted proof there was a Will. What happens now? My mom is still grieving, and this money grubber hasn’t even spoken to him in years even though she knew he was sick and dying. What should my mom do now to take care of this?

Asked on June 22, 2011 under Estate Planning, Tennessee

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation.  I am sure that it is a difficult time.  Your step father had a right, given under Tennessee law, to disinherit his daughter in his Will.  Generally speaking, though, all those that would inherit if there were no Will (under the intestacy statutes in your state) re entitled to receive notice of the Will and the intent to offer it for probate.  And with the notice generally comes a copy. This allows those who did not inherit but thought that they should have time to "contest" or object.  Also, a Will becomes public record once it is filed with the Court so she would not be stopped from seeing it anyway.  You Mom needs to go and see a lawyer as soon as she can about probating the Will and take the letter from the daughter's attorney with her.  Good luck.


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