Q: My daddy left a will to his wife, myself and my brother. My stepmother had a letter written and notarized before death.
The letter: This is to supercede xxx Last Will an Testament. Because of health problems and aging, I, xxx, do hereby relinquish all rights, privileges and duties to and for the estate as stated in his Last Will and Testament to his children,
What is the legality of this document?
A: What a perfect example of the old adage “Pay me now or pay me (much more) later.” A revision of the Will would have cost a few hundred. An estate plan that effectively cut spousal rights to the legal minimum would have cost a few thousand. I could argue either side of that one, and that litigation could cost tens to hundreds of thousands. I think the case is winnable on each side. With equal representation, the odds should be on invalidating the waiver, but I could build a case that the waiver is valid with the right facts. Of course, however, nothing stepmother writes changes father’s Will, especially sonething signed in 2002, long before death, But the question is whether the waiver is valid.
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