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  1. #1

    Default What Proof is Needed for Contesting a Will

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Washington

    What kind of proof is required to contest a will?

    My dad got married 4 months ago, and changed his will 2 months ago to disinherit his 5 kids and 13 grandkids. He gave everything to the new wife. He had a heart attack 5 days after changing the will and was randomly shot in the head and killed last week on his way home. He told the rest of my siblings to keep it a secret from me so I was not aware of this will change until now. They were suprisingly not upset about it but the majority of them are quite wealthy. I was getting the bulk of the $2m estate before this change....

    He has acted very irratically for the past year. He was apparently head over heels in love with this lady. They saw a therapist to make sure the relationship was going to work out. He went to AA meetings with her to help her recover from being an alcoholic. They split up a few times before getting married. Apparently, he couldnt bare to be without her so he really wanted to marry her. He ended up paying off her $150k mortgage just before they got married. This from a guy who complained about his electric bill or just paying for dinner...

    Then they went on a trip to hawaii where he bought a timeshare. They also booked a cruise for later this year. He was spending money rather wildly it seems. He was alone for the 6 years prior to this relationship.

    This woman seems like the opposite of my mom(who is deceased) so I dont quite understand how it worked out so well. I have never met her, they were supposed to come for a family reunion this week...

    He was 76 and the new woman is 70.

    She says she didnt want the will to be changed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    Default Re: Contesting a Will

    To win a will challenge based on competency is, well, a challenge. Under the law of most states, including Washington, legal competency is a pretty low standard. All the decedent must be able to do at the time of executing the will is:

    (1) know that he is signing a document that determines who gets his property when he dies;
    (2) generally what property he has; and
    (3) who his spouse and close relatives are.

    Moreover, the when the will itself looks proper on its face the competency of the decedent is assumed by the courts and the person challenging the will must overcome that with "cogent and convincing" evidence. See In re Estate of Bussler, 160 Wash. App. 449, 461, 247 P.3d 821, 828 (2011).

    An attack based on undue influence might be an option given the short term of the marriage, but if it is true that she didn't ask him to change the will then that won't go anywhere either. Even if she did, as his wife she would be a natural object of his affection and someone to whom the estate might be expected to be given, so this is a tough one to pursue in any event. She'd be entitled to at least a share of the estate even if the will hadn't been changed.

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