Cut Out of the Will, What Can I Do?

The death of a family member, or loved one is always difficult. It can be even worse when you find that they might have cut you out of their will, intentionally, accidentally, or as a result of somebody else exerting undue influence over the person before their death. So what can you do if you get cut out of a will?

Determine why you are no longer in the will to see if you will have any kind of case. If the person omitted you by mistake, and knew exactly what they were doing, you have less options. If you are a surviving spouse, you can challenge the will and obtain a portion of the estate. Most jurisdictions do not have a similar provision for children, parents, exes, business partners, or friends. If a decedent intentionally omitted someone who falls under one of these categories, there is little or no chance of obtaining a portion of the estate.

Sometimes it is possible to challenge a will if the omission was accidental or caused by the undue influence of someone before the testator’s death. A lawsuit brought to challenge the contents of a will is called a “Contest.” Normally close family members who have been disinherited have standing to initiate a contest.
If you were the deceased person’s lifelong friend and felt snubbed by your omission from the will, you will likely not have any kind of standing absent an earlier will that granted you some inheritance. Also, distant relatives, or those not directly in line of the inheritance are not as likely going to be able to initiate a will contest.

If you’re still not sure about your legal rights, but think you should have received something in a will and did not, you may want to consult with a probate attorney.

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