York, PA asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania

Q: Contingent Beneficiary

My mother passed away shortly after changing her will to place my step-father as beneficiary/executer and placing myself (only natural child) and included my step-sister as contingent beneficiaries upon his death. He had a will made up saying the same.

Due to the nature of my moms sudden death and step-fathers "marital behaviours etc" I became estranged after punching his girlfriend.

I was recently notified by my daughter that he stated he removed me from her will, and his and placed my daughter in my place.

What can I do? How do I request a copy of my mothers will? I cannot afford a probate attorney to take on a case at this time.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: You can get a copy of your mother's will from the court where her estate is being probated. A will cannot be changed by anybody but the testator. After the testator dies, it cannot be changed by anyone at all.

However, if your stepfather inherited your mother's entire estate outright, then he can easily disinherit you in his will UNLESS he had an agreement with your mother not to change his will, but you would have to be able to prove that.

1 user found this answer helpful

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Wormleysburg, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: It looks like you may have two questions here. First, if your mother had an Estate opened then you can get a copy of her Will from the Register of Wills in the county where she lived at the time of her death. No one could change your mother's Will except her, and only while she was alive. Her Will could not be changed after her death.

It sounds like you are also looking for a copy of her former husband's Will to see if he changed the beneficiaries after your mother's death. Unless there was an agreement in place between him and your mother (and the burden would be on you to prove that agreement), he would have the right to change his beneficiaries after your mother's death.

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