WillI be able to contest a step-daughter and a step-grandaughter receiving a portion of my father’s estate?

UPDATED: Sep 17, 2011

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WillI be able to contest a step-daughter and a step-grandaughter receiving a portion of my father’s estate?

I am my father’s only living blood child; the only one left to pass on the family name. He told me today he will be writing his Will to be given 1/3rd to me, 1/3rd to my stepsister, and 1/3rd to my stepsister’s daughter. Will I be able to contest either of their portion of the estate? Also, he is still married to my stepmother; if he were to die first what would happen? Family heirlooms are in question; he stated he would be leaving my stepmother and her children my family’s heirlooms.

Asked on September 17, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a bloodline is only relevant in a situation where someone dies "intestate (i.e. without a Will). In that case the deceased's estate  passes to the next of kin. However, since your father has a Will, "intestacy" law is inapplicable.

The fact is that a person is under no legal obligation to leave their entire estate to their biological children. Quite the contrary, a person may actually disinherit a child. A "testator" (i.e. the maker of a Will) can leave their estate to just about anybody that they wish. As long as they are of sound mind and have had no undue influence or the like placed on them, they can freely "bequeath" (i.e. gift) their assets as the see fit. The standard used to "contest" (i.e. fight) a Will is quite high and difficult to meet.

If your father pre-deceases your step-mother she will take as provided for in your father's Will. If that is below the legally set minimum in your state, she has certain rights to inherit pursuant to the community property laws of TX.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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