Is there any point in an adult child contesting a will when they have not been acknowleged?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is there any point in an adult child contesting a will when they have not been acknowleged?

Parents have 2 children. Lavish attention on one, ignore the other. Once children become adults, parents are close to one, estranged from the other. Parents die and the estranged adult child is not even notified, find out about the deaths of natural causes in the newspaper. Deaths are separate events within the same year. Is there any point in the estranged child pursuing legal action, or is it probably a waste of time and money?

Asked on August 26, 2016 under Estate Planning, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Waste of time and money, unfortunately. A parent is allowed to disinherit a child, either formally or by not naming him/her in a will. If there are reasons to feel the will was procured by undue influence or coercion (e.g. the other child forced the parents to drop his/her sibling from the will) or was forged or fraudulent--i.e. to think that the excluded child should have been included--there may be grounds to challenge it. But you describe a situation in which it is completely consistent with your parents' treatment of their chidren and your relationship with them that they would exclude you; therefore, there do not appear to be grounds to assert that the will is improper in some way.

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