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Steps to Take to Handle a Will Contest

by Chris Cooper, Financial Planning Expert
April 02, 2014

Question: My mother recently passed away recently and my sister and I were told of the contents of her will. My sister wants to challenge the will. What should I expect?

Answer: A Will contest can occur for a variety of reasons, usually because a family member feels like they were not treated fairly, or was disinherited. You need to talk about this with the attorney handling your mother’s estate (and if your mother’s estate doesn’t  have one, get one NOW!) Depending on State laws, the attorney will be able to explain to you what happens and how big a burden your sister has to contest the Will. The attorney may recommend if your sister files suit in Probate court where you mother lived that the two of you consider mediation to help settle your differences, especially if having a good relationship with your sister after this contest is important to both of you.

YOU SHOULD NOT attempt to settle this matter directly with your sister, especially if you are the named executrix (personal representative) of your mother’s estate as this could get you in more legal trouble. GET LEGAL GUIDANCE NOW! Follow the law to the letter, and listen to your mom’s estate attorney.

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Chris Cooper is the owner and founder of Chris Cooper & Company, Inc., a fee-only financial planning firm for elderly persons and the owner and founder of ElderCare Advocates, Inc. a private geriatric care management and long term care consulting firm. As a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary, Chris can serve as  Conservator of the Person and Estate under court appointment,  as Agent under a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial matters and Health Care matters.

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