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Will invalidated by court after being sued by decedent’s friends

One of the main reasons why so many in Miami are encouraged to begin the estate planning process early in their adult lives is because having a will, a trust instrument or other documentation might limit the chances of there being a dispute amongst beneficiaries. However, the mere presence of such estate planning articles may not guarantee that disagreements may not arise. If the feeling exists amongst certain parties to an estate that the articles detailing is disbursement are not reflective of their loved one’s actual wishes, they may feel a moral obligation to challenge them.

A recent case involving an ongoing estate settlement in New Hampshire serves to illustrate this point. A group of friends and smaller beneficiaries of the estate of a former resident questioned the validity of the late woman’s will. The will reportedly named a former local police sergeant as the primary beneficiary to the woman’s $2.2 million estate. A settlement was proposed that would have paid the man over $400,000, yet was rejected. When the case finally went to trial, the court agreed with the plaintiffs, saying that man had exercised undue influence in getting the woman to amend her will in his favor. Subsequent action related to the case has seen the estate administrator file a malpractice lawsuit against the attorney who created the invalidated will.

Some may see the challenge of a will as the desperate attempt of a disinherited malcontent. Yet if one truly believes that a decedent’s desires are not being carried out by his or her will, that person may have every right to voice his or her concerns. Those concerns may be given even greater voice if one has an attorney supporting his or her claim.

Source: “Portsmouth poised for $374K inheritance from late Geraldine Webber” Dinan, Elizabeth, Dec. 12, 2016



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