Washington, DC asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia

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?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

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.

Reading an answer on the Internet does not create an attorney-client relationship. You are represented by me when we have both signed a retainer agreement (on paper or electronically) and some money has changed hands. Usually, you will have been asked specific questions about your situation and all potential conflicts of interest will have been resolved. Until then, you have no more right to rely on this answer than if you read it in a novel.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.