Question: My mother owns a farm and told me she is working on her will. I understand through my sister that she has decided she would like to leave my sister more of the property than to me. Do I have the right to contest the will once she dies in order to get an equal share? Answer: So long as your mother is competent and not being ‘unduly’ influenced or coerced by your sister (or any other person for that matter), she has the right to leave her property in any amount and to anyone she desires in her Will. While you could contest the Will after she dies, she has no obligation to treat you and your sister equally under her Will. I can tell you that unless you can prove there was an issue with competency or some other form of coercion, you are facing an uphill battle. I would recommend that if you think she is going to treat you and your sister unequally (to your detriment), it would be best to speak to your mother about this now. Perhaps by speaking with her, you will understand her position, or she will understand yours. A family fight which ensues in litigation after the fact is usually expensive and can ruin your relationship with your sister and other family members. As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please let me know.
ABOUT STEVE SHANE
Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates. You can connect with Offit Kurman via our Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages. You can also sign up to received Law Matters, Offit Kurman’s monthly newsletter covering a diverse selection of legal and corporate thought leadership content.
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