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What Are My Options if I Was Excluded from a Loved One’s Will?

 Posted on September 09, 2021 in Estate Planning

When a person creates a last will and testament, they will make decisions about what should be done with their property and assets after their death. A person may choose to divide their assets among their loved ones, including their spouse, children, or other family members, and they may also specify that money or assets should be donated to charity or used for other purposes. In some cases, a person who expected to receive an inheritance may find that they were excluded from their loved one’s will, and they may wish to pursue probate litigation to address this issue. In these situations, a person will need to understand their rights and legal options.

Contesting a Will in Wisconsin

The terms of a person’s last will and testament will generally be followed, as long as the will was valid and executed correctly. In some cases, a presumed beneficiary may contest the validity of a will. A beneficiary may claim that the person did not have “testamentary capacity,” meaning that they were not of sound mind when they created their will or did not fully understand the decisions being made. A will may be challenged if a beneficiary believes that someone exerted “undue influence” on the person, such as by threatening or coercing them into creating a will that went against their actual wishes. Challenges to a will may also be based on claims of fraud or forgery, such as the belief that the will was altered by another party after it was signed.

Even if a will is valid, Wisconsin law provides for a few situations where a person’s beneficiaries may have been inadvertently excluded. These could include:

  • Premarital wills or wills that purposely exclude spouses - If a person created a will before getting married or entering into a domestic partnership or with the intent to disinherit the spouse, the spouse or partner may be entitled to a share of the estate. 

  • Wills made before having children - If a person had a child or adopted a child after they created their will, the child may be entitled to a share of their estate. 

  • Descendants who were accidentally excluded - If a person inadvertently omitted a child or another descendant from their will, such as because they falsely believed that the potential beneficiary had died, that beneficiary may be entitled to a share of the deceased person’s estate. 

Contact Our Milwaukee Probate Litigation Attorneys

If you believe that your loved one’s will is invalid or that you were wrongly excluded from a will, Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you determine your legal options. To learn how we can help you address these issues and ensure your loved one’s wishes are followed correctly, contact our Milwaukee, WI probate litigation lawyers at 414-271-1440.




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