How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask John Elder Your Own Question
John Elder
John Elder, Estate & Elder Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4631
Experience:  Over 14 years experience in Medicaid, Estates, Trust.
Type Your Estate Law Question Here...
John Elder is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

A parent dies without a spouse and an executed will. Weeks

This answer was rated:

A parent dies without a spouse and an executed will. Weeks before her death, she was rushed to the hospital by her daughter-in-law. While in the emergency room awaiting an operation, the daughter-in-law wrote down some things regarding the distribution of assets to her three sons that contridicted beneficiary designations elected in annuities and the ownership sucession she had elected for a savings account at the bank. Her home, which was free and clear of debt, was to be left to the daughter-in-law's husband and the youngest of the three brothers. According to the probate laws of Hawaii, when a person dies intestate and without a surviving spouse, the assets listed in probate are divided equally between the surviving children.

My question is, does the note, which was signed by the parent, constitute a legal will when the patient survives the procedure and freely communicates with her children for several weeks after the operation? The mother never discussed the note with the children and she did not seek out an attorney to finalize any changes.
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

Did the mother die immediately after dictating and signing the alleged will?

Was the will written by the daughter-in-law or the mother?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The mother lived for several weeks after her surgery and interacted with her children during their visits with her.


The list of "changes" or terms was written by the daughter-in-law and then signed by the mother. No one else was present and no one knows the mother's frame of mind at the time.


I do not mind paying the $34 for this visit, but I do not want to be enrolled into a monthly plan, OK?


Thank you for the follow up responses. You are not enrolled in a monthly plan unless you specifically click an agreement. I am not in control of the bill but a user like you. In fact the site will not pay me for helping you unless you rate me excellent at the end of our discussion. If you are still concerned that you may be enrolled in the monthly plan then let me know and I can send your concern to the right people when we are done.

For the will to be valid it must be in the mother's own handwriting and signed by the mother. If not in the mother's own handwriting the will must be witnessed and signed by two witnesses.

Based on the information provided, it appears this document is not a valid will and that mother's estate passes by intestate succession in Hawaii.

I cannot provide you with legal advise. I have provided you with information about the law related to your question. My answer, and any information that you find online, should not take the place of having a consultation with a lawyer in your area to advise you regarding your specific issues.

Please show your appreciation for my candid, accurate information by clicking VERY INFORMATIVE, OR the OR and positive feedback. You should only rate me if you are satisfied with the information I provided you. If you cannot rate me GREAT please do not rate. Give me a chance to make it right by clicking REPLY TO EXPERT.

I appreciate your question and repeat customers. You can request me by beginning your question with "Dear XXXXX..."

Thank you,


John Elder and 3 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you

Related Estate Law Questions