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John Elder
John Elder, Estate & Elder Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4631
Experience:  Over 14 years experience in Medicaid, Estates, Trust.
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A parent dies without a spouse and an executed will. Weeks

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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 4 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?


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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.

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