Being estranged from your parents is not an easy thing to go through. You may have tried many times to repair your relationship with your parents, but for whatever reason, you may have been unsuccessful. This can be especially confusing if the reason for the estrangement is unknown, or if you have been estranged from your parents through the undue influence of another person.
If your parents pass and you have questions about your inheritance as provided for in the will, you may wonder if you have the right to contest the will.
Here is what you need to know:
It can be heartbreaking to learn that you’ve been excluded from your parents’ estate plans. This can happen if your parents leave you out of their will entirely, or if your parents mention your name in their will, but do not include any bequest for you, or where you are named in the will but are designated to receive only a small token bequest—maybe even a few dollars.
In any of these circumstances, it may be possible to challenge the will, but you should think carefully about doing so, especially if the will names you as a beneficiary and includes a sizeable bequest. If the will has a no-contest clause, and you challenge the will and fail, you may forfeit your right to that bequest.
If you are successful in contesting the will, then a previous will takes its place. If there is no previous will, then the estate will be distributed according to Virginia intestate succession laws.
Viable Reasons to Contest a Will
In Virginia, there are several ways that a will can be overturned, such as:
- Undue influence
- Lack of testamentary capacity
In cases of parental estrangement, undue influence can play an important role. Perhaps the source of your estrangement is isolation by a caretaker or adverse sibling. Some people with advanced dementia may also become estranged from their family because they are not thinking clearly or have been misled by someone about their family’s intentions.
If any of these situations apply to you and you have a valid reason for challenging your loved one’s will, our lawyers at Obenshain Law Group may be able to help you seek the justice you deserve. Give us a call at (540) 318-7360 or fill out an online contact form.