One Sibling was closer to the parent then the other sibling. That sibling was favored in a will. Is That ground for a Will Contest?
Sibling rivalry can end up turning into a serious matter after a parent dies and it is discovered that their will favored some siblings over others. One common legal issue that ends up causing problems later on is when one sibling spends more time with the parent, whether it be because they are a caregiver or are otherwise closer in their later years, and then that sibling ends up getting favored in the will. This can lead the sibling left out to claim that the favored sibling used undue influence to have the will revised. If you are on either side of this type of conflict, hiring a New York City estate attorney is your best bet to help protect your rights.
While one of the risk signs of undue influence can be that one person ingratiates themselves to the testator shortly before their death, this is not, in itself, enough to prove undue influence. This would especially be the case if the testator’s child was close to that parent, and especially if they spent extra time or effort into that parent’s care. Just because an adult child was friendlier with a parent, such as in the case of that child being a primary caregiver, is not evidence that they manipulated that parent to substitute the child’s free will for their own when distributing the estate. However, the fact that the more favored child was in a position of influence to the parents would make him accountable to explain to the court how undue influence did not occur.
There may be other reasons besides a parent just liking one sibling more to explain why that parent may not. For example, a parent may have given a large financial gift to the child left out of the will during their lifetime, such as for a down payment on a house, and took it out of the inheritance. It is also possible that the parent knows that one sibling is in a more challenging financial situation than the other children, meaning that a higher gift would be a necessity for that child. None of these reasons are alone an indicator that the child who was favored manipulated the parent.
However, if there is evidence that the testator was actually being influenced, there could be a valid legal claim. If you are involved in this type of a situation, find a New York City estate attorney and discuss the matter so that you can find out what your options are. Call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.