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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Would an estate settlement agreement between a widow and adult

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Would an estate settlement agreement between a widow and adult stepchildren from a 38 year married be upheld if it was signed by the widow while she was under the influence of morphine and other opiates prescribed for extreme pain?
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you.

Were the parties aware that the widow was not competent at the time? How long ago was this agreement signed?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

A letter exists written by her counsel at the time which indicates that the widow's attorney was asked by both the counsel for stepson and by widow's step grandson NOT to notify court of her condition. Three letters were written by her doctor at the time which indicated it would be unsafe for her to sign any legal documents.

Thank you for your follow-up, Tammy. That is most helpful. How long ago was this all signed?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

husband died in 2008. She has been fighting with stepson since then. They want everything after 38 years of marriage. . . even 600,000 she received as inheritance from her father....husband filed "legal separation" which she claims she knew nothing about. . . . her attorneys withdrew immediately on same date that she signed "settlement agreement" which basically gave stepsons everything....she was taking morphine and other opiates for pain from a serious fall. Case continues to this date.

Tammy.

That is most terrible. I am seeing some legitimate concerns here. The inheritance, for example, should be just hers as it is 'sole' and 'separate' property to which nobody is entitled to but she herself. Similarly, 'legal separation' does not affect the marital split, or shouldn't, since the parties are still legally married. It may be helpful for her to consider seeking to subpoena the past attorney to testify as to her mental state. Otherwise, as you likely know after researching, a person is 'presumed' sane and competent unless there is a court order or significant evidence exists otherwise that the other parties were aware of. I can likewise understand why the attorneys withdrew--at that point there as little for them to do. To get this reversed she has to get some evidence or testimony from third parties pointing out her mental state, as otherwise this was a valid transaction even if unfair to her.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

she has several witnesses as to her mental state.

Tammy,

She needs witnesses for when she signed. The law permits a finding of 'moments of lucidity' even for those who are not otherwise fully competent. In essence if when she signed she knew exactly what she was signing and why, and she wasn't deceived as to terms, the signature would be upheld.

Good luck.

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