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witnessing a signing of a will

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V

vbh

Guest
Kansas!
I have posted about this situation previously and a strange event has since occurred. My friend's will is being contested by his sister who he has always hated and specifically named her in his will as someone he did not ever want to be heir to any of his assets. She has tied his estate up for nearly a year now by depositions and then mediations and general stall tactics. I assume she has been hoping to drive the named heir to a financial point where they would settle out of court. She succeeded...I think. The day before court, she made an offer of $700,000 to the legal heir for what is currently valued as a 1.25 million dollar estate. Seeing as the legal heir is 21 and the will had stipulated that the estate should go into a trust until she reached the age of 30...this girl decided to take the 700,000 now instead of waiting for the 1.25 million. This girl also had no money left to pay legal bills.
This is the odd part: I apparently "witnessed" a will my friend had in December of 1976...giving everything to his sisters. This same will was also drawn up and signed for each of the sisters giving all to surviving siblings. My husband was the other witness. We are asked to affirm that the signatures are indeed our signatures as well as that said friend was competent and had sought the legal advice of a named attorney, etc. The attorney for the evil sister tells me they are going to try to put that will through probate. Neither my husband or I remember signing this document yet, the signatures look like ours. However, we definitely cannot say what our friend's state of mind was at the time nor what kind of legal advice he had received. Add to that the fact that I was the one who had been pushing him for years to draw up a will and he eventually did so a month before his death. While I did not witness that one, we talked about it and I saw it and I can attest to his competence at that time.
My question: What is going on here? I was wondering if I can somehow use this affadavit affirming my signature etc. as a vehicle to finally have a legal reason to inform the judge of all of the shenanigans the evil sister is trying to pull. It appears to me that the so-called settlement was a stall tactic due to the fact that the Judge this sister wanted was on vacation this month. I do not believe that the settlement was in good faith concerning the greedy witch as now she says she is still trying to come up with the $700,000 to "buy" the recent will from the 21 year old kid. Do I have any possible "advantage" that I can take with this request for my affadavit concerning the 1976 will? I sure do hope so because I think it is a travesty what the sister has done...definitely immoral but seems to me borderline illegal! Please help! vbh
 


ALawyer

Senior Member
THIS MATTER IS ONE NEEDING LOCAL HELP AND ADVICE.

It sounds as if the friend is being ripped off by legal extortion , but for your friend, $700k in the hand now may be a decent settlement. -- she's giving away $500k to buy peace and get the money now. Of course if she's get it plus interest at 30, in 9 years, she'd be able to borrow against some of it and have enough now....

Handwriting experts would be able to say if the signatures on the old wills are yours.
 

Dandy Don

Senior Member
(1) Has the offer of $700K (made the day before court) actually been PAID to the heir now or is it still basically an "empty promise"? The heir's attorney needs to kn ow about everything being offered in this case.

(2) If the greedy sister makes an "offer" to "buy" the recent will for $700K, then the heir's attorney and the heir need to try to trick her into making that offer in writing, since it might be illegal and the heir would then have evidence of it. It's a strong indication that the eveil sister feels she probably won't win the will contest and is pursuing another strategy.

(3) How very odd that neither you nor your husband remembers witnessing the 1976 will. If you or he had actually signed it, odds are that at least one or both of you WOULD have remembered it.

If you can not say with 100% certainty that the signature is yours, then lyou would be smart NOT TO SIGN the affidavit/affirmation. Your refusal would send a strong message by implying that your signatures were forged.

It is also odd that the same will would be drawn up by the other sisters, leaving everything to surviving siblings. Normally, people leave their money to more than one beneficiary. This seems like a very obvious and pathetic attempt by the evil sister to dishonestly get a share of this estate by creating fradulent documents in the hope that she would split the estate with the other siblings--otherwise she gets nothing. Too bad evil sister is going to fail--another reason why she is delaying getting the valid will probated as soon as possible.

(4) If there is any way that the heir would make the decision to wait until age 30 to claim the million--that would be in her best interests. To get continuing legal representation, she could mention to any prospective attorney the value of the trust and ask the attorney to delay getting their fee until the land can be sold and the trust cashed in. However, that is asking a lot (attorney may not want to wait 8 years to get paid), and she may prefer to take the easy way out and take the $700K, but if she has any discipline at all she should hold out for the million.

Still unmentioned: will the heir be receiving anything specifically from the will (was she mentioned by name in it) and what is the value of any assets that are being probated through the will, if he didn't put everything in trust?


DANDY DON
 
V

vbh

Guest
witness signing of will

Kansas!
Thankyou DandyDon and ALawyer for your insight. First of all let me tell you that the "heir" is a 21 year old high school drop out with two sons under the age of 4, unmarried and on public assistance---making no effort to "improve" her lot in life. I have known her since she was a baby and can certainly understand the waiting time imposed upon her until age 30 before she has total control over this estate.
In answer to Dandy's questions: 1) The offer has actually been made of 700,000 for the huge estate and was negotiated with the named heir's attorney (who I think is a blockhead). 2) While I "think" the offer was put in writing, I have just found out that the "evil sister" is having trouble coming up with the 700,000 bucks and is proposing that she be able to rent out the huge house on the estate in order to help come up with the bucks---which she does NOT own! 3) My husband and I do not intend to sign the affadavit that the signatures are ours! However, I am not sure evil sister would be stupid enough to forge our signatures due to the fact that she is quite aware of our contempt for her efforts to subvert our good friend's last wishes. I believe that all of the siblings possibly were instructed to do this same will by their father who was quite overbearing and now has been quite "dead" for nearly 22 years (if indeed these wills ever really existed). 4)---Yes, the heir was specifically named as the only heir in the will---and evil sister was specifically named as someone who my friend never wanted to have anything of his, EVER! The heir was more than willing (like she had a choice) when she discovered what she was named to inherit....until evil sister contested the will and made life miserable for the heir and her grandma (who has nearly bankrupted herself in hiring the attorney to fight evil sister.) Grandma is afraid that her granddaughter will not prevail in court and initially was pushing the heir to settle with evil sister for 20,000 bucks! I convinced her that this was grand theft to allow evil one to buy an estate of more than a million left to granddaughter for 20,000! The bank (executor) says that the lawyer can get paid by the estate if the court upholds the latest and very valid will.
What a mess! Is there a time limit on how long a time interval can occur between time of death and final disposition of the estate?
 

Dandy Don

Senior Member
If the $700,000 offer was actually made in writing, then I can't really blame the heir for wanting to get money, but it also looks like her own blockhead attorney is selling out the heir (not really looking out for her best interests) just so he can collect a fee!
What else would the heir be specifically agreeing to do in order to get such a large amount of money--surely the evil sister is wanting more for her money than just having the heir give up a document!!

It looks like both sides are trying to take advantage of her illiteracy to persecute/harass her into taking a wrong course of action.

If the judge is ethical and honest, he can surely see what is being done here, but his hands are tied somewhat since he has to hear the motions since they have been filed. Let's hope he is impartial and unbiased, but sometimes the prominent law firm attorneys and others make contributions to the judge's political action committees/campaigns, so there may be a little bit of favoritism that you can't actually prove.

You are right--what a mess! Are these lawyers just going to keep dragging the depositions out indefinitely and collect huge fees while nothing is really getting solved?????

DANDY DON
 
V

vbh

Guest
will contest by evil sister

Kansas! Thanks, Dandy for your insight. Yes, what a mess! I fear that both attorneys are doing exactly as you suggest: continuing ad infinitum/nauseum until there is no estate left to probate---which is why I was wondering if there is some sort of legal time limit for these things to be settled...can attorneys really legally continue on and on with no staute of limitations or whatever it is called? What can I do as just a friend of a poor soul who finally got around to doing one last thoughtful act before he died?
Again, thanks for your time. I do appreciate it greatly!

vbh (Ginny)
 

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