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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36991
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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In the state of Mich March 2015 a lawyer produced a Will days

Customer Question

In the state of Mich March 2015 a lawyer produced a Will days before my dad's death and told me he never saw or talked with my dad. The wording is clearly (can provide proof) that of a non family member whom now has equal share in the estate and whom had no power of atty. My father had mental issues as well as being on heavy medication for bone cancer. I do not want to contest the Will, I'd like to see the lawyer and other person held responsible for this fraud and conspiracy. My dad made it known to me a few years ago that the state would divide it as he would, between his 3 girls so he didnt feel the need to go to the expense or trouble. He was a state employee his entire life. I am the Rep for the estate residing in Fl. Is there a case to be made here?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question..Are you saying that the signature that is on the will witnessed by the witnesses is not father's signature?.Who directed the lawyer to draft up a will for your father?.Why would the attorney tell you that he never talked with or met with your father?..thanksBarrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It is my dad's signature with 2 nursing home assistance as wittness and no one else in the room. A woman made up the Will on her own, whom has been in and out of my dads life for a few years never living together took control with the medical poa and limited family members to information as well as length and time of visits. I met with the lawyer. I asked him if he saw or talked with my dad during any of this. He said "no". I offered to pay him and asked if we owed him anything (more than once) he said "no" and that "I'm washing my hands of the whole thing". Then I hired a lawyer and didn't contest the Will and we get a $ 700 bill from him! One evening just days before he passed my dad told my younger sister (she died July 2015) he married this woman. I called dad the next day and he said they had. I could tell he was heavly sadated. They were never married. Because of my dads life long health issues he was very easily manipulated.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't know that anyone directed her to do a Will. My uncle and I both had conversations about a Will with him long ago. His wishes were clear to his brother and myself. My beef is that the lawyer did this based on a prson with no authority to do so and without ever knowing if these were his wishes and if he was mentaly aware of what he was signing.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Ok, from a purely legal perspective, there is nothing illegal or improper about an attorney drafting a will for someone they haven't met. It is just a piece of paper until it is formalized and executed properly by the testator signing and the witnesses witnessing the testator sign and then signing themselves affirming that they did so. I have had children of clients call me to draft a simple will for a parent and I did so. But I always made sure I met the person I was drafting for just to meet them. But I am rarely around for the actual signing and execution because my job is over before that occurs and I don't substitute my judgment for their family's or doctors about whether they are competent or not because my role in their life is very brief. I don't spend hours with them or see them every day so I have no way of determining if they are competent or not. .I have had clients with dementia who were very foggy some days and crystal clear on others and that is when they wanted to meet with me...when they were clear and coherent and wanted to make sure that they had their arrangements made. So if there was some type of fraud involved with getting father to sign, that is something that would have to be taken up with the witnesses and the executor potentially in a will contest action. But you can be assured that the witnesses would testify that father was aware of what was going on and signed voluntarily of his own free will (they always say that so they don't get in trouble)..So the burden is pretty tough to carry here to prove that father was coerced into signing and it then boils down to a will contest where you have to have his doctors testify that he was medically incompetent due to the amount of medication he was on at the date of the signature so he may not have know what he was signing..But you stated you didn't want to contest the will so that kind of brings us back full circle to the fact that simply drafting a document doesn't make it legal.... it is the signing and execution that makes it legal and the only way to challenge that is to file a will contest...I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy....thanksBarrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Got it. Thank you for the information.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome. Glad to help any time even if the news wasn't great.....thanksBarrister