‘I imagine my ex-husband influenced my father to write down me out of his will. He is a narcissist and has turned everybody towards me. Ought to I contest it?’


Dear Quentin,

I took care of my not-so-nice father for almost two decades. My siblings weren’t there and didn’t offer much help. My father was emotionally and verbally abusive. He watched my ex-husband abuse me and my children and never stood up for us. He never paid child support and allowed us to be raised by a sect when we were teenagers.

Three years ago, after my nephew took his own life, my father and I had an argument from which we never recovered. I had encouraged him to go with me to my sister’s in California to comfort her. It was during this time that got me torn. I left him at my brother’s house and drove back to Idaho without him.

I had just been divorced six months before that incident. After that happened, my father was driven back to Idaho by my ex-husband. My ex-husband persecuted and molested me, and the marriage was very abusive. My family was on my ex-husband’s side. He became the savior of my family because I could no longer take care of my father.

My dad recently passed away, and I think my ex influenced my dad to write me from his will. He’s a narcissist and turned everyone against me. They locked me out of my father’s house and I was pushed out. Do I have a legal claim?

Thank you for any help.

Forgotten daughter

You can email The Moneyist at qfottrell@marketwatch.com with any financial and ethical issues related to the coronavirus and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Dear forgotten,

Your father chose other people to whom he bequeathed his estate and wrote you out of his will, and your ex-husband and family chose to stick together at your expense. Maybe he did this at your ex’s insistence. It has to hurt, especially after two difficult, volatile relationships.

But the sad fact is that, based on what you say in your letter, your late father and ex-husband caused you great pain when they were in your life and they did not treat you as you deserve to be would have to be treated. They chose their own paths, but in the end you choose yourself.

Even without knowing how much money is at stake and hoping that you will have enough money to live on, I don’t believe that challenging your father’s last wishes will undo or even make amends for the sins of the past. It will be an expensive, emotionally stressful process that will be extremely tedious to prove.

It will be an expensive, emotionally stressful process that will be extremely tedious to prove.

To successfully challenge a will, you need to demonstrate undue influence (which would result in your father being threatened or pressured to expel you), an inability to testify on your father’s part, or demonstrate that the will was or was fraudulent in any way does not meet a legal standard in your state.

These are big requests. Lane V. Erickson, estate planning attorney with Racine Olson Law Firm in Idaho, says, “Anyone can dispute a written will at any time. The real question is not whether you can challenge a will, but whether you have evidence that a court would invalidate the will. “

“If there is no real reason a court could invalidate a written will, then I advise anyone who asks me this question that it would probably be a waste of time and money to try to dispute or challenge the will “, he writes.

Consult with a real estate law attorney so you can make an informed decision with no regrets. After years of uncertainty and turbulence, you have the chance to do something that seems unusual in your family: to choose a peaceful life. I know you are hurt, but please think very carefully about what to do next.

It could set the tone for the next chapter of your life. Sometimes the decision to go away and do nothing is the smartest decision of all.

Check out Moneyist’s private Facebook Group in which we look for answers to life’s thorniest questions of money. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Ask your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or take part in the latest Moneyist columns.

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More from Quentin Fottrell:

• My married sister uses the most precious possessions of our parents. How can I stop them from ransacking their home?
• My mother had my grandfather sign a deed that left two grandchildren millions of dollars and avoided everyone else
• My brother’s soon-to-be ex-wife embezzles money from her business. How do we find hidden accounts?
• “Grandmother died recently and left a seven-figure estate. Needless to say things are getting messy ‘

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