What to do if my father left my stepmother his property in his Will and she, in turn, left the same property to her children in her separate Will?

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What to do if my father left my stepmother his property in his Will and she, in turn, left the same property to her children in her separate Will?

These Wills were not prepared by any law firm but rather just printed off of the internet, not notarized but signed by my father and stepmother and signed by 2 witnesses. As the biological son, would I have a legal leg to stand on and be able to contest the stepmother’s Will in a court of law?

Asked on March 25, 2013 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

Victor Waid / Law Office of Victor Waid

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I would further add to previous counsels statement, who is correct, this is what happens when probate counsel is not used to prepare the wills; the internet is very seductive to this type of problem arising now and in the future; best not try to operate in an area where you are not qualified. The old saying is still valid: You get what you pay for in life; if you pay nothing you or your children get nothing and lose out on future distributions.

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You are the unlucky recipient of the most common scenario in the modern American family.  This is exactly what happens in most second marriages and is exactly the reason I keep trying to educate people that they cannot count on second spouses to pass assets to their children.

If your father died first, then I doubt there is anything you can do about this.  Consult a probate attorney in your father's area to make sure.  It is possible that the wills are invalid because they were not executed properly or because your father was subject to undue influence or lacked capacity but this is a long shot.

I am sorry.  I know it is no comfort to know there are thousands of children just like you wondering why this happens.


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