What needs to be done regarding a Will contest?

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What needs to be done regarding a Will contest?

Almost 4 years ago, my father was named executor to his stepmother’s estate (also power of attorney and health care proxy). Less than a month before her death (7 months ago) she changed her Will and estate over to a stranger. Comparing our Will to the new oneshe stressfully signed the new Will 3 times and also spelled her name wrong. We were never informed of her death and or funeral; since she is a stepparent they didn’t feel the need to contact us. The new Will with the stranger is in probate with the surrogate courtnow. We have contacted the judge and guardian ad litem, to let them know of our existence. We are also trying to get medical records to show she was not of sound mind when signing the new Will. What should our next steps be? The next court date is in 10 days.

Asked on November 5, 2011 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

Sharon Siegel / Siegel & Siegel, P.C.

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am a New York lawyer.  First, have you seen the prior will naming your father as executor or do you even have a copy?  Second, if not, do you know who the draftsman is?  You have described a situation where the decedent executed a "death bed" will.  However, as you are not the next of kin because of the stepparent relationship you lack standing to challenge the will on regular grounds.  I strongly suggest that you consult a lawyer before the next court hearing to determine whether you are going to forward.  If you are, then have the lawyer appear for you at the next court hearing in 10 days.  I would be happy to talk with you about your options. 

Sharon M. Siegel, Esq.

www.siegelandsiegel.com

212-721-5300

email: [email protected]


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