I am my father’s only child, do I have any legal right to contest his will if my name wasn’t mentioned in it?

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I am my father’s only child, do I have any legal right to contest his will if my name wasn’t mentioned in it?

My father recently passed away, and I
wasn’t mentioned in his will, do I have
any legal right to contest his will, his
attorney that drafted the will wants me
to sign a paper saying that I won’t
contest it, what should I do

Asked on June 24, 2019 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Just being left out of the will does not by itself give you the right to contest it: there is no law saying that parents have to leave anything to their children, and parents do disinherit their children by leaving their estate to other family, to friends, to romantic partners, or to charity. To have valid grounds to contest the will, you'd need evidence that at least one of the following occured: the will was not properly signed or witnessed; your father was not mentally competent when he made it; someone else forged the will or your father's signature; your father was threatened or coereced to create this will; or your father was in a vulnerable position (e.g. mobility impaired or housebound) and someone with a position of great power over him (e.g. a caregiver) used that power to "unduly influence" your father to make this will.


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