How do I know if a Will is legal?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How do I know if a Will is legal?

A suspicious Will was presented to probate upon my father’s death. It was not the one that my

sisters and I were familiar with. I can’t find the attorney named in this Will.

Asked on May 3, 2019 under Estate Planning, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you suspect something, then the thing to do is what you have done: request a hearing on it. Everyone who has knowledge of the prior will, your father's living situation and mental state at the time the new will was allegedly created, his wishes and his family relationships, and also anyone who knows about any person(s) other than family named in the new will should attend--you will want as many witnesses with knowledge available as possible. Ideally, you would also want an attorney, since the lawyer will know far better than you how to ask questions in court of anyone championing the new will and how to get at whether there is anything inconsistent or seeming fraudulent in the document or witness answers.
Ultimately, a will is legal unless you can prove it was not: that it was not signed or witnesses propertly; that is a forgery; or that the person creating it was not mentally competent when he made it or was subject to some form of coercion or pressure to make the will that he did. 

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.

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