What are my rights if I was at disinherited by my father?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my rights if I was at disinherited by my father?

My father just died. His Will was changed by a novice attorney about 6 weeks prior. Up to that point, my dad told me his estate would be split 50-50 between my only sibling and I. Now all of a sudden, she is receiving 100% of his estate. However, her name is misspelled on 1 of the pages of the Will. Does this raise any red flags to you? My sister did not even provide me with the name of his “new” lawyer.

Asked on January 6, 2016 under Estate Planning, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a parent may completely disinherit a child. And generally, a typo or mispelling doesn't raise any legal red flags--all it suggests is poor proofreading.
A will would be invalid if procured by fraud (by lies; e.g. by lying about what someone was signing to get them to sign a new will); by undue influence (if the testator, or person making the will, is particularly dependent on someone, like a caregiver, and that person uses his/her position of power to get the testator to change the will); or by duress (threats). It is also invalid if the testator was not mentally incompetent at the time of the will. And, of course, it's not valid if it's a "fake"--that is, if someone else, not the testator--made the will. If you think one of these things happened--such as if your sister took more care of your father than you, and used her access or power to make him do a new will; or if your father had bad eyesight and your sister slipped  a new will in front of him to sign without telling him what it was; or if your sister and lawyer simply made up a new will and that's not your father's signature--you'd have grounds to challenge the will, but would need to have or reasonably be able to get evidence of this; a mere suspicion is not enough.
Note that if there was fraud, duress, influence, etc. and your father simply did decide to leave it all to your sister for any reason, including maybe that he'd had some recent fight or argument with you, that is perfectly legal.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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