Notes contradicting will do not stand up in probate

When drafting a will in Lee County, Florida, it is important that it is done properly in order to ensure that your estate is taken care of the way you see fit after you pass on. Revisions are often necessary, especially if a number of years have passed or your circumstances have changed. It may not be enough to add these revisions to the will yourself. Instead you may wish to ensure your wishes will be honored by allowing an attorney experienced in estate planning to help you.

Had a woman done these things, she might have saved the executor of her estate a lot of headache. It appears the woman was working on revisions to her will when she died. Her lawyer had previously suggested that instead of using monetary bequests, the woman consider assigning percentage bequests. Months after the suggestion, the lawyer still hadn’t heard back from her.

After her death, notes were found that seemed to contradict parts of her will. Her executor brought a proceeding to determine if the notes constituted her will. The notes were composed of nine pieces of paper that appeared to be the woman’s thoughts she was considering. Some even contained question marks, written in her own handwriting.

The court eventually decided that the notes were not evidence of the woman’s final assent, but that they were something on which she was still in the process of working. Therefore the notes could not be considered a valid will, and the woman’s primary will would stand.

Source: Wealth Management, “Notes Found After Decedent’s Death Can’t be a Valid Will,” Natalie Dallavalle, Michael Gooen and Jeffrey Wild, Mar. 20, 2014

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