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Office LocationKamerow Law Firm, PLLC
5001 Seminary Road, Suite 110
Alexandria, VA 22311
Learning of the passing of a close friend or a family member can be one of the most challenging and emotional times of a person’s life. Sadly, once someone dies there is no typical waiting period to heal from the pain and grief before he or she must deal with his or her estate. Handling one’s affairs means that while the pain and sorrow are still fresh in the minds and hearts of loved ones, they must learn the final wishes of the decedent. Sometimes this can be a healing process in and of itself but in the event you are left out of the will altogether, it can compound the hurt and grief even more. You may suspect that there is a mistake or intentional tampering with the will. What do you do?
Can I contest the will for being left out of it?
Unfortunately, being left out of a will is not reason enough to contest the will of your loved one. The assumption is that the will is valid, and there aren’t many ways to prove otherwise. The fact that you were left out of the will may be used as evidence of another more valid reason to contest the will, though.
Grounds for contesting a will
Depending on circumstances such as your relationship with the decedent, being left out of the will may be evidence that your loved one was under duress, had a lack of capacity, or under undue influence to leave you out. These ARE grounds for a contest. For example, if you had an excellent relationship with your father and were an only child but someone such as a step-parent or other beneficiary may have benefited greatly from your being omitted in the will, then you may have grounds to contest.
Another situation that may be grounds for challenging a will is if the decedent was a victim of dementia or some other illness that caused diminished capacity, and they had updated their will leaving you out, and then you may have a case that they were under the undue influence and had a lack of capacity.
When you are purposely left out
While it isn’t required to do so, it is helpful for someone to disinherit specifically someone by name if they are intentionally leaving them out of their will. This will leave no room for doubt that the omission of a beneficiary was not an accident, oversight, or unduly influenced.
Contact an Estate Planning attorney in Alexandria
If you have any additional questions about estate planning, or you feel that you were wrongly left out of the will of a loved one and wish to contest it, call the Kamerow Law Firm today to set up your free initial consultation. We can discuss the specifics of your situation and advise you on a course of action forward. Call us at 703-370-8088 or fill out our online contact form.