What are my rights as my late grandmother’s only living heir?

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What are my rights as my late grandmother’s only living heir?

Prior to my grandmother’s passing, my mother my grandmother’s daughter and

her second husband lived in her home until my mother’s death several years

ago. After my mother’s death, my stepfather remained in my grandmother’s

home, saying that it was my mother’s wish that he continue to care for my

grandmother. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he had her Will changed to read

that after her death he could continue living in the home for as long as he

wished, and that in the event of his death, the home would pass to me. When

my grandmother died, her attorney was never notified in fact I wasn’t notified until after the funeral and her Will was never sent to probate. As her only living heir, do I have any recourse?

Asked on July 27, 2018 under Estate Planning, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If there was a will, then the terms of the will are enforced (e.g. that your stepfather may live in the home) as long as the will is valid and there was no fraud in procuring it. If there was no will, then if you, as a grandchild, are the only or  closest living relative, would inherit; that fact--that you would inherit if the will is invalid for some reason--gives you "standing," or a legal right, to challenge the will if you choose. If you believe your grandmother for forced or coerced or tricked into signing the will, or was not mentally mentally competent when she signed it, or that it's not actually her signature, you could challenge the validity of the will; if it is struck down, you would inherit the home and could do what you wish with it, including removing your stepfather. But you would need evidence to support your challenge, and that it was just seemingly unfair, out of character, or a bad idea is not enough. If you wish to explore a challenge, consult with a probate attorney.


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