How do you handle a discrepancy regarding the distribution of assets under a Will?

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How do you handle a discrepancy regarding the distribution of assets under a Will?

My mothers Will had 2 parts. The first part left set amounts of money to 3 individuals and 4 charities. The second part stipulated that “the following 10 people will receive equal shares of the remainder of my estate”. However, only 8 people were listed. What happens now? A party from the first part who was left $5000 now thinks that she is entitled to more and is causing problems. The lawyers who handled the Will hasn’t yet contacted anyone regarding what they are going to do. What are the possible solutions?

Asked on July 7, 2011 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Are you the executor of the Will?  And are the attorney's that drafted the Will the same as the attorneys that are helping to probate the Will?  So they made a mistake and either left out 2 people - ugh - or your Mother only listed 8 people and they incorrectly put in 10.  The solutions here are going to be found in the case law and interpretation of the law in your state.  It is presumed that your Mother read her Will before she signed it so if a name or names were left out then she would have seen it, correct?  So if it is a typograhical error then the 8 share the entire remainder of the estate.  The "party from the first part" has no right to the "rest, residue and remainder" unless she thinks that she was supposed to be named - either told by your Mother or someone else with knowledge - and she was not.  Then she needs to contest the Will.  And if these lawyers are not responsive get another.  Good luck. 


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