Unraveling Myths in Your Parent's Will
Dealing with the Last Will and Testament of a parent can be an emotionally charged and complex process. It's natural for family members to desire what they perceive as "fair" treatment when it comes to the distribution of their parent's estate. However, the reality is that your Mom or Dad's Will doesn't necessarily have to align with your concept of fairness. In this article, we'll delve deeper into the misconceptions surrounding the idea of fairness in wills and discuss the challenging nature of will contests.
Understanding the Misconception of "Fairness":
One common misunderstanding among individuals dealing with a parent's Will is the belief that the Will should be "fair" - typically interpreted as an equal division of assets among the children. However, the concept of fairness can vary from one family to another. Some believe fairness means dividing assets equally, while others may expect more due to various factors, such as providing greater care in their parent's later years or having a verbal promise from the parent.
The Harsh Reality:
As a contested probate attorney, I often have to be the bearer of harsh truths. The legal reality is that every living person, up until the moment of their death and as long as they are legally competent, has the legal right to dispose of their estate in any manner they see fit. While there are exceptions to this rule, they are indeed exceptional cases.
It's essential to understand that mental health issues or personal preferences, like favoritism towards one child, do not automatically invalidate a Will. The burden of proof for challenging a Will is significant, and it typically involves more than just these factors.
Will Contests: A Challenging Path:
Will contests, especially when you are the one objecting to the Will, can be incredibly difficult to win. Whether you prevail or not, you will likely invest a substantial amount of time, money, and mental energy into the legal process. This time and effort can take you away from your own family and daily life, as you find yourself navigating legal battles in a lawyer's office or in court.
Why am I telling you this?
As a probate attorney, my commitment is to provide my clients with an honest assessment of their case. If I believe that your chances of winning a will contest are unreasonable, I will tell you. I'm not here to eagerly collect fees and bill you by the hour. Instead, I'm here to offer you experienced, truthful advice, even if it's not necessarily what you want to hear at the moment.
Seeking Honest Advice:
If you ever encounter a lawyer who seems overly eager or potentially interested in profit over your best interests, consider seeking a second opinion. Your financial resources and time are valuable, and you deserve guidance that is genuinely focused on your needs and the best course of action for your specific situation.
Your parent's Will doesn't have to conform to your perception of "fairness." The legal system allows individuals to dispose of their estates as they see fit, within certain boundaries. Will contests can be challenging and emotionally draining, but with the right advice and realistic expectations, you can navigate this process more effectively.
If you're unsure about your situation or need a second perspective on your case, don't hesitate to reach out to us at 978-961-2491. My goal is to provide you with the honest, experienced guidance you deserve, even when it might feel like a wet blanket over your head. Your time, resources, and peace of mind are too precious to be wasted on futile legal battles.