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Estate administrator challenging late woman's final will

Miami residents may be encouraged by estate planning experts to begin drafting the instruments that detail how they would prefer that their assets and property be dispersed early on in their lives. There may be wisdom in such counsel, given that most may not know when they will meet their end. However, one should also keep in mind that a person's familial and social relationships may change over time, thus necessitating that he or she revise any estate planning documents to ensure that they reflect his or her current desires. If and when such changes are made, it may not be surprising that some of those affected by them (in a negative way) may choose to challenge their validity.

Such is the matter currently being contemplated by a Vermont court as it determines the legality of a final will drafted by one of the area's late local residents. At the center of this dispute is a local side judge, whom the estate administrator argues may have taken advantage of the late woman's alleged incompetence to influence her to change her will to benefit him. Her earlier will reportedly favored her family members, yet that may have changed after the judge and his late wife became the woman's caretakers. The administrator argued, however, that the woman's heirs-in-law had never been given the opportunity to challenge those changes.

Updates and amendments to wills and other estate planning documents may easily cause contention, either from those disputing their legitimacy or those supporting it. No matter which side of this dispute one may fall on, having the assistance of an estate planning attorney may increase his or her chances of successfully arguing his or her point.

Source: The Barre Montpelier Times Argus "Side judge loses battle in estate dispute" Smallheer, Susan, Oct. 18, 2016

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