This is an unhappy scenario where an older brother may have meant to care for a sibling, but the will did not align with what the younger brother had been told.
When the older brother died, he was divorced, although he had been married three times. The older brother had two adult children at the time of his death, but had nothing to do with them. He always told his younger brother that when he died, the younger sibling would inherit the entire estate. However, when the older brother died, his attorney said the majority of his estate would go to his two children and his first wife. The younger brother received 15% of the estate.
But since he was the one who helped his brother through his final illness, shouldn’t he get more?
The hometownlife.com article, “Contesting a will usually a no-win proposition,” says while it may be unfair how the brother chose to divide his estate, it’s not an issue of fairness, but rather, it’s an issue of law.
Here are some examples of common issues in will contests:
Intimidation: if a beneficiary pressured the individual making his or her will and he or she wasn’t of clear mind when he or she made the will, it could create an issue and the will could be overturned.
Medication: if a person was heavily medicated when writing his or her will.
Capacity: if a person’s state of mind could be challenged, a will could be overturned.
In the earlier example of the two brothers, none of these issues other than questioning the will creator’s mental capacity were present.
Just because someone tells you that you’re going to inherit their estate when they die, doesn’t mean they are legally obligated to do so.
If you are interested in contesting a will, make sure that the attorneys you meet with have strong estate litigation backgrounds. Litigation over wills can be costly and can also divide families. However, there are some circumstances where you may have a good case from both a legal and moral standpoint. If you go this route, you want an experienced estate litigation attorney.
Reference: hometownlife.com (January 15, 2017) “Contesting a will usually a no-win proposition”