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Legalease
Legalease, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16298
Experience:  15 yrs experience: Elder Law, Wills, Social Security Issues
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My Late husband passed away 9 years ago. Because of the 2006

Customer Question

My Late husband passed away 9 years ago. Because of the 2006 Law that was passed in accordance to property ownership, his daughter ( my step-daughter) will receive all his assests upon my death, which therefore, I am Life-estated. He had no will whatsoever, however, I recently ran across a vcr recording of our entire wedding & reception & discovered a statement that my late husband had stated in the video: He said, "I am now a married man & I now belong to Sheila (me) %150!" Would this include the ownership of his assets & Would this video be enough evidence to overturn the Life-estate decision? His daughter did receive some of his properties/assets. But my late husband left me the home & property that I am currently residing on, until my death again, however no Will was found. I am only wondering if this video will have any bearing on any, at all overturn.
Than you
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
This newly found "evidence"/video was NEVER shown to any judge or lawer, for I just recently discovered this video as I was sorting through some old videos. The judgement was already ordered some years ago.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Legalease replied 11 months ago.

Hello there --

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I truly wish that I could tell you something differently here, but unless the video or audio tape is an actual video will with witnesses present who also sign a document acknowledging it as a will of your late husband, the family and probate court will not consider the video from your wedding as a statement of his will and intentions for distribution of the estate. There are several reasons why the courts take this position on such video or audio recordings -- but the main legal reason is that there is no clear intention that he meant that statement to be the final statement of his last will and testament and obviously, he is not here to tell anything more about it. It would be called "hearsay" because he cannot be questioned regarding the statements any longer. When someone comes forth with statements made by a witness or party to an action and that person is not available to be questioned (his daughter has the legal constitutional right to question any witnesses that you would bring forth in this matter -- almost like the right in criminal law that the party charged with the crime has the right to face his accusers in court and if those accusers are not available then their earlier statements are not admissible), then the statement is automatically deemed "hearsay" and not admitted into evidence. At that point, the other side can try to find an exception to the hearsay rule that might make the unadmissible tape actually admissible, but those exceptions are very few and permitted to be used rarely. For example, one exception to the hearsay rule is a deathbed statement -- if someone make a claim or accusation on their deathbed, the law views that as a period where the person is least likely to lie and may admit the statements made. Here, because the statement was made at your wedding, it is a happy time with alcohol most likely flowing and would most likely result in happy statements on any video or audio tapes made of the occasion. I cannot think of any exception to the hearsay rule that might make it admissible in court so that you could contest how your husband's estate was later distributed.

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If you had other evidence that showed his intentions in addition to this video evidence, the probate court might let the video be viewed as part of trying to interpret other evidence that might be submitted to the court so as to turn the case in your favor. For example, if you had several written statements from him throughout the marriage of what he wanted regarding his estate after his death, but the documents were not formal wills, the video might be considered by the court as additional evidence to show his intentions for his estate. However, by itself with nothing more to go on and the court will not consider the video taped statement. I am so sorry that I cannot give you better news for this, but you asked a straight up definitive legal question and it is my job to give you the straight answer without any smokescreen or mirrors.

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Please let me know if you have further questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating in the ratings section above so I will be paid for my time assisting you today. A positive rating is given by pressing the middle star or the fourth or fifth star on the right of the middle star in the five star ratings section above. Pressing a positive rating will not cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as the trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time assisting you today. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!

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MARY

Expert:  Legalease replied 11 months ago.

Hello again --

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Your request for a telephone call was posted just after I posted my answer above and while I am happy to call you and talk to you about all of this, there are additional charges from Just Answer for doing so (I do not set those rates!). I am happy to talk with you about all of this if you want me to do so, so please let me know and I will submit the ADDITIONAL SERVICES OFFER to customer service to start the telephone call process (you have to accept and pay for the telephone call before I can call you).

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If you no longer want the call, I understand. However, I would appreciate it if you could press a positive rating above so I will be paid and credited for my time assisting you thus far on this question.

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MARY

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