Changes to a will can split a family up and lead to long legal battles, especially when those changes cut someone out of the will. That is what happened to one woman whose father had passed away while she was still in college, years before she also lost her grandmother on that side. She had stayed in touch with her grandmother, who was suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as she could.
When her grandmother passed away, she assumed that she would get some of the estate, but it turned out that everything was left to her aunts, her father’s sisters. Concerned and surprised by this outcome, she asked them if they could show her the will.
What she found there caused her even more concern. Her grandmother had twice signed wills — once in 2007 and once in 2012 — that would have given the part of the estate that was meant for her father to her and her siblings. This will also would have given her aunts their portion, leaving something for everyone. However, just around a week before her passing, a new will had been crafted and signed. That will cut her out entirely, along with the rest of her father’s children.
The woman was able to go to court and get a settlement, but a lot of emotional damage had been done. This was something that really caused a rift in the family.
When drafting wills for one’s estate in Massachusetts and elsewhere, it is very important to think about the impact that the will can have on the family down the line. That is why it is best to do this early on in life, before any mental disorders come into play.
Source: The New York Times, “When a Will Divides an Estate, and Also Divides a Family” Paul Sullivan, Jun. 20, 2014
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