What do I need to do to contest a will?

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What do I need to do to contest a will?

My father had made a will leaving everything to my oldest
sister. When we found out she was also terminally ill, he
expressed an intention to make changes, some in my favor.
He died unexpectedly before he had the chance to amend the
will. My next oldest sister has every intention of leaving
me in the cold, for her own personal reasons. Do I have any
recourse in this matter?

Asked on December 29, 2016 under Estate Planning, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you do not have any recourse in this situation. From what you write the initial will apparently was valid, or at least you have not described any problems with how the first will (the one leaving everything to your sister) was created--you have not claimed your father was mental incompetent at the time, was coerced into making it, etc. What you want is to give effect to "will" that was never actually made. The law does not let you do that: while there are some grounds to invalidate a will, such as mental incompetence or coercion/duress, there is not way to give effect to a will that was never actually made. So there is no way to give effect to the amendment your father never had the chance to make; and if there were no defects with the existing will, it will be given effect and everything will go to your sister.


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