The NYT blogged about a woman who left her estate to her daughters while disinheriting the children of her son who predeceased her. Although she was suffering from dementia, two weeks before her death she re-affirmed a prior will which included the grandchildren from her dead son. She then changed her mind five days later and excluded the grandchildren. The grandchildren challenged the will and eventually settled for a small amount to be shared among them. The protagonist granddaughter decried that she wished her grandmother had conversed with her about the will and that she wished her grandmother had left her wishes in a letter.
1. Wills may be challenged on the grounds of undue influence (“Mom, leave it to us, our dead brother’s kids are never around”) and lack of mental capacity (i.e. dementia). Both grounds seem to be present in this case. It seems that they could have fought longer for their father’s share.
2. When one’s parent dies and one wishes to inherit the deceased parent’s share of a grandmother’s estate, constant contact, e-mails, visits, thinking of you cards, and holiday gatherings are time well spent.
3. Contrary to the granddaughter’s naive wishes, clients never tell someone they are are being disinherited much less express those wishes in a writing. The will serves as that written document. The woman, Kate, was smart to not use her last name lest she and her naivete be subject to ridicule by those who met her.