One way to receive assets even if not named in Decedent’s Will is to contest the validity of the will. A court generally must provide an opportunity to allow others to object to the will, and a legal challenge, called a will contest, may be brought by anyone with an interest in the will who believes it is invalid. There are certain grounds to contest a will which include, the making of a later will, incapacity, if the will was made by coercion, duress, or fraud, if the will was improperly executed (a writing, signed by the person making the will, and witnessed or notarized), or if the signature of the testator or witnesses is determined to be forged.
Another way to receive assets even if not named in Decedent’s will is if the named beneficiary in the will passed after the Decedent, the beneficiaries heirs are entitled to inherit from the estate.
Omitted spouses and children are entitled to receive assets even if they are not named in Decedent’s Will.
An omitted spouse is entitled to a statutory election that would allow the omitted spouse to take a portion of Decedent’s estate had the Decedent died without a will. In the alternative, the omitted spouse can elect to take her dower rights which state that the surviving spouse is entitled to a life estate in one-third of the real estate owned by the decedent at the time of his death. In addition, a spouse is entitled to a homestead allowance, a family allowance and an exempt property allowance which are adjusted annually to account for the cost-of-living.
An omitted child is entitled to a share of the testator’s estate, which is limited to devises made to the testator’s then-living children under the will, given in equal shares to each child. In addition, Decedent’s children are entitled to receive an exempt property allowance which is adjusted annually to account for changes in the cost-of-living.
If services for Decedent’s care were provided by a non-family member, and payment for those services was not made, replacement services may be reimbursed by the Estate.
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