Jump to content
shrnparke

contest a will

Recommended Posts

My father recently lost his wife in  Nov 2015. We reside in San Antonio, Tx. During the course of their 28 yr marriage, his wife inherited her fathers property. In 2010 a will was created to leave the house to my father. It was then updated in 2012 to leave it to her biological daughter, and my father could still be allowed to reside in the home until his passing. After my Dads wife passed on, a will has now surfaced stating that she updated it while hospitalized in 2014, to have the home left to her sister. 

For the last 3 years my sister, the deceased's step daughter, was hired as her caregiver. My Dads wife had a bag with all docs necessary if she were to pass to handle her estate which included the before mentioned will for 2010 and 2012. We knew she was sick and there was potential that she had a high risk of a short life expectancy, so she made it clear that those docs are what would be needed when the time comes.

 

Of course when she passed, as mentioned before, the "new will" was then presented to show that the home was not left to her daughter OR my father. Instead it was put it the name of her sister.

We believe that the sister got my fathers wife to sign a new will while being heavily medicated during one of her last hospital stays. That will, when compared with previous document signatures doesn't seem to match up. We contacted the notary (who is a family member thru marriage of the sister) to ask about details regarding the updated will, she seemed very nervous and stated she couldn't help us. When my father and her daughter went to a lawyer to start the probate process, the lawyer pulled up the new will. The date filed was 2 days after her passing (don't know if that has any importance to the situation). 

 

The sister has now served my father an eviction notice only a month after his wife's passing stating that he is delinquent 4 months on rent. My father and his wife have never paid rent for that home to the sister or anyone. This home, as mentioned, was inherited by his wife. The only obligation they had were taxes and such.

 

Can I get some direction on what we can do to help my father and his wife's biological daughter with this situation?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure what you expect folks to say other than to advise your father to contest validity of the will. (You don't say anything about the two witnesses to the will's execution. but normally those folks' addresses will be listed as well. Unless will was in testator's handwriting and signed by him/her, two witness signatures are required. For all we know, notary was nervous 'cause she notarized it without being present. A will doesn't need to be notarized, however, but not-present notarization would tend to help point to shenanigans.)

If she begins eviction action, your father would naturally defend against it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so Fallen, you bring up a good point. I wasn't aware there should be any other witness signatures on the will. The most recent one I want to contest does not have any other signatures on it. Her previous wills were always done at legal aid, which did include additional witness signatures now that I have compared the documents.  

Additionally, this is why I am asking for advise to see if we have grounds to fight the eviction and contest the will. Should I go with a real estate attorney, a family law attorney...I'm a bit lost in regards to what direction I should start in.

Like you mentioned, we have advised my father not to sign any docs or start packing, even as a novice with this situation I know the eviction notice is bull****.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You said your father went to a lawyer about probate. Estate-probate lawyer would be right kind, not real estate. That person I hope suggested that your father file a will contest and put wrench in this person being appointed estate rep/executor (presumably how the will also reads).

Not sure why you'd even question whether father/daughter can contest the will. Lack of two witnesses makes it very easy to toss out, and hopefully without having to wory about an involved evidentiary hearing about suspected shenanigans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A family law attorney can not assist you.  You need a probate attorney who has experience with contesting wills.

 

Sister has no legal authority to evict anyone if she is not legal, official owner of the home, but she may not be aware of that fact.  Look at the property tax/land records for that county to see whose name is showing as owner of the home (or at least perhaps it will show the name of the person who the property tax bill was sent to).  Let's hope it shows your mother's name--it could be problematic if it shows your sister's name since it may be an indication that she improperly asked your mother to execute a quitclaim deed or did something else improperly to acquire title/ownership to the home.

 

You do not need to do legal research or fear going in there "empty handed", as most regular citizens are not informed about probate law.  There is a time factor for contesting the will and your attorney needs to get on this as soon as possible to get it thrown out.  If you want to do research, ask your father to go to legal aid to ask how he can defend himself against the eviction (or he can consult a real estate attorney who specializes in landlord/tenant/eviction law) or he and you can look at landlord/tenant law for your state online.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...