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Is a Recent Unsigned Will More Valid Than an Older Signed Will?

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Joe Escalante
Hi Joe,

I have a half sister who was purposefully left out of the will (stated in the will) by my father. However, it was not signed. I have an older (signed) will that was written before he knew of her existence. Do I follow the signed will and does my half sister have legal rights in this matter? Thank you.

– Bill Rabenstein


Barely Legal Radio w/ Joe Escalante:

From these limited facts, I would say that the unsigned will would not be considered the true wishes of the decedent by the court. The first will would however. The rights of the half sister would be determined by the wording of the will. For example, it could say, “I leave this stuff to all my issue, equally.” In that case, she has rights. However, if it says, “I leave my stuff to Bill only and I purposely exclude any other issue, known or unknown,” then she has less rights, and perhaps none. It all depends on the language and validity of that previous will.

Attorney Joe Escalante answers your legal questions for free on our Facebook page every Tuesday and Friday at 10 a.m. PT.

The advice Joe gives is general; it is solely his opinion and not that of LegalZoom. He is a licensed California Attorney with years of experience; users from other states should take care to review the laws in their own states. LegalZoom is not a law firm. This free service is intended to get you headed in the right direction, not to replace an attorney. This is a public forum. No attorney-client relationship is formed with Joe, or LegalZoom, and the attorney-client privilege does not apply. LegalZoom does not verify, validate, or confirm the advice given by Joe. LegalZoom cannot guarantee the quality, or reliability of any legal advice provide by Joe.

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March 3rd, 2014 at 9:51 am

Posted in Free Joe

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