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Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19682
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp. with Estate Law issues
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My 96 year old grandmother who is still healthy and

Customer Question

My 96 year old grandmother who is still healthy and alive is a bit concerned that her estate be taken care of according to her requests.There were originally 5 siblings... one daughter passed away 5 years ago . The daughter that passed away also had a daughter. My grandmother would like to be sure that her remaining granddaughter receive 1/5 of the inheritance left to her siblings. What do we need to do to make sure this happens? Many Thanks
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 months ago.
Hello,Thank you for the information and your question. Just to be clear, is your grandmother in Virginia or Switzerland? Also, does she have a Will and if not, why not?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
She's in Virginia and I live in Switzerland. She has a Will. In the will my Mother's name was stated several times. Once my Mother passed away the siblings had the Will re-written. My Grandmmothers private nurse was asked to be a witness during the signature of the Will and told me that basically my Mother's name had been removed. The executor of estate( my Uncle) told my Grandmother that this was normal procedure not to worry as I was next to kin, therefore would receive 1/5(my Mothers part) of the inheritance . This is my Grandmothers wish and I want to make sure I haven't been cut out. It's a very delicate situation as everything is based on trust + the fact I live so far away.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 months ago.
Hello again and thank you for your reply. Unfortunately I can't tell you what the Will says. I can only discuss the law of the issue. If your grandmother had a Will that was written before your mother passed away and it said that her estate would go to her children (issue) "per stirpes" then you would be entitled to your mother's share of the estate. However, if there is a new Will, and it is valid (you need an attorney to review it along with the facts of how it was executed to tell you if it is), then since your mother has already passed, then if the language says something to the effect "to my issue who survive me" (or words to that effect), you would not take under the Will unless you are specifically mentioned. On the other hand, if her Will says something to the effect to all of my issue or their heirs if they predecease me, you would still take under the Will. It really boils down to the exact language of the current Will (assuming it is enforceable) so you would have to have a copy of the Will to know whether or not you are included. It isn't necessarily true that it is normal for someone else to sign the Will for your grandmother. In fact, it is highly unusual. Only in the case that she cannot make a signature (which she could still make an X) would it be appropriate for someone else to sign on her behalf. Someone with a POA cannot sign on a Will. If she is incompetent, then the new Will is not enforceable. Again, I cannot stress enough that you need your own attorney involved, perhaps not at this point, but if your grandmother passes, to review both Wills and the circumstances to see if you have a valid challenge. Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your response that has been very helpful. I wasn't clear about one thing; My grandmother signed the new will and they just asked her nurse to sign as a witness. Is it standard procedure to ask for a copy of a Will? Or is there some kind of secrecy issue?. My grandmother doesn't even have a copy. I don't want to ruffle any feathers but just want to have a piece of mind which is not easy when one lives so far away. Also, my grandmothers house just sold, is the money from the sale to be kept until the day she passes or can the siblings slit their share?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your reply, and now I understand the facts a bit better. If your grandmother signed the Will herself and there is no issue of competence, then it would generally be valid. However, you say that the nurse signed the Will as a witness. Virginia law requires that there be 2 witnesses that sign as the same time the testator does. If there weren't, then that would be a basis for a challenge to the Will. It would be unusual, unless your grandmother directs someone to send you a copy of the Will now, to see it now. Usually, there is no sharing of the Will prior to the passing of the testator. After that happens, then the executor must either have a formal reading or share the details with the Will to all of those effected by it. As far as the sale of your grandmother's house, that is her property at this point. She can do what she wants with it. In other words, it is not part of the estate until she passes and assuming the funds are still in existence. I will be stepping away from my office for a bit, so there could be a delay in getting back to you if you have further follow up questions for me.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 months ago.
Hello again,I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any further follow up questions for me from the answers I provided to you on the 13th. For some reason, the Experts on the Site are not always getting replies, or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit(paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not received your rating.Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating,please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox. In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue,if needed. You can bookmark my page at: you.