Usually, people who plan ahead and want to split their assets among or between beneficiaries do so with a last will and testament. From time to time, things like the death of a spouse or adult child cause people to rewrite their wills. New wills can be drawn up on death beds and signed, often causing problems with the execution of an original will. If you are a beneficiary of your parents' will and you know that the will that the probate lawyer has is not the last will and testament, here is what you will need to do.
Produce the Last, Last Will and Testament
If your parents wrote another will right before they passed away, you need to produce that will. It has to be the original copy (NOT a photocopy!), in their handwriting (or typed), and clearly and legibly signed by them. The courts will not even look at a photocopy or something that was left unsigned, as the probate court would consider this as an illegitimate will.
Make Sure the Recent Document Was Dated
Not only does this recent will need to be signed, it must be dated as well. The probate lawyer could argue that the will he/she holds is the legitimate one if the will you have is not dated and signed. If you want the will you have to be the final say of your parents, it has to be dated at a time when your parent or parents still had a hold of their mental faculties and their ability to sign and date a document without assistance.
Get Your Own Lawyer to Fight the Probate Lawyer
It seems silly, but you really do need your own lawyer to fight the probate lawyer in court. The will the probate lawyer has in his/her possession is, for all intents and legal purposes, your parents' dying wishes. The probate lawyer represents your parents' interests in both life and death, and you cannot argue that the will you hold is real and true without a lawyer's help, one which represents your version and your interests.
Be Prepared for a Lengthy Battle
Disproving one will and trying to prove the legitimacy of another is very difficult. It could take several months or a couple of years. Your parents' assets may remain frozen and undistributed at that time, or some may be liquidated to pay remaining debts while the rest are frozen. As such, you should be prepared for a lengthy court battle and not depend on what you expect to receive from your parents' estate until the question of the wills has been resolved.
Contact a lawyer, such as Scott Lyons Attorney at Law, for more help.