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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
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Experience:  Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters
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Hi there! My grandparents had a sweetheart will. My grandmother

Resolved Question:

Hi there!

My grandparents had a sweetheart will. My grandmother passed away in 1980 leaving everything to my grandpa. Her will stated that her assets were to be divided equally amongst her 7 kids. Since she passed before my grandpa, he held her assets until his death two months ago. His will stated his assets were to be divided 7 ways, however the seventh piece was to be divided amongst his 7th child's three children. He basically disinherited my dad and gave his part to us three kids. My grandpa was also remarried in 1983. I do not know the contents of that woman's will. My question - whose will dictates how the estate will be distributed? Basically, does my dad have something coming to him because of grandma's will or does grandpa's will override hers and he gets nothing?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Thomas McJD replied 1 year ago.

TMcJD :

Hi, I will be happy to assist you, and it is my goal to make you a very satisfied customer! This may take a few minutes, so thanks for your patience.

TMcJD :

Your grandmother's will only controlled how her assets were divided. If her will stated that if your grandfather survived her then everything went to him, then he owned all assets at the time of his death. His will would control how the assets are divided now.

TMcJD :

Please let me know if I can provide additional assistance. If not, I would be grateful if you could please leave me a positive rating. I cannot receive credit for my work without your positive rating and that is the sole means of compensation for JustAnswer experts. Thanks.

Customer:

Hi there.

TMcJD :

Hi.

Customer:

so, based on your response, my dad can expect nothing even though grandma's will said he should get something?

TMcJD :

Yes, that is correct.

Customer:

Is that applicable in all states?

TMcJD :

Yes it is.

Customer:

Can my dad dispute this for any reason?

Customer:

my grandpa was not coerced or mentally compromised at the time of writing his will.

TMcJD :

He cannot dispute the disinheritance. He could only dispute the validity of the will itself on some legal basis such as that it was executed under undue influence or that your grandfather lacked testamentary capacity when he executed the will. Those types of will contests are very difficult to win and very expensive to conduct

Customer:

Everyone that knew my grandpa would testify to the contrary regarding his mental state or if he was coerced.

TMcJD :

Then unfortunately there would be no basis to contest the will, which means it will control.

Customer:

Other beneficiaries seem to be under the impression he would be entitled to something because of my grandma's will.

TMcJD :

No, not unless her will only left your grandfather a life estate in property that was owned by only her on her death.

Customer:

what is a life estate?

TMcJD :

A person has an interest in the property only for life as opposed to owning it outright. Her will would have said something like "to my husband for life" as opposed to "to my husband"

Customer:

OK. I guess in the end it really depends on what her will actually said.

TMcJD :

Yes

TMcJD :

If it left it to him outright, then his will controls.

Customer:

That is what I am being told...that it was a sweetheart will.

TMcJD :

Yes, that would be typical; a life estate would not.

Customer:

Ok. Is there anything I should be aware of as this estate moves through probate?

TMcJD :

No, it sounds like a simple matter -- it will just depend on how her will distributed the property to your grandfather.

Customer:

Right. There is only one thing that is going to drag this out is the fact grandpa had an annuity that is going to continue paying out two more times before we can close the estate.

Customer:

Have you heard of an annuity that continues paying even after the person has died?

TMcJD :

The beneficiaries would usually be able to select an option for payout in full. It all depends on the annuity contract terms, so sorting through that could slow things down.

Customer:

Here's another thing...my siblings and I have noticed that grandpa's children who are the other beneficiaries are having a lot of discussions without us. Only three of the six beneficiaries are executors. Should we be concerned we are not being included in discussions regarding how we are going to manage the farmland and other assets?

Customer:

There are a total of nine beneficiaries...6 kids and us three grandkids.

TMcJD :

No, the executors control how the estate is handled (all according to the terms of the will).

Customer:

Grandpa kept it really simple and didn't stipulate whether we had to sell the land or enter it into some type of entity like an LLC.

TMcJD :

Then it could get complicated and you would need to discuss options with your local attorney. That really is beyond the scope of what I can help you with.

Customer:

OK. Well, thank you for your help. You helped with the really big question regarding the sweetheart will.

TMcJD :

You're welcome. Please let me know if I can help with anything in the future. Have a great evening!

Customer:

Thank you. You too.

TMcJD :

Thanks.

Thomas McJD, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6515
Experience: Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters
Thomas McJD and 5 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you

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