Contesting a legally drawn will on the basis of fair apportionment - Right or Wrong?
If some family beneficiaries (legatees) of a will believe that the relative apportionment of the inheritence is unfair, despite the benefactor being in full possession of their faculties, do you feel morally that they should contest it on grounds of fair play? I have been on one side of this problem, tho' at the moment I won't say which for fear of biasing the replies.
If the person was sane they had the right to do as they please, no one has the right to take that right just because they have passed on.
I agree, you can't make everyone happy and most people tend to leave things to those they really want to have them if they actually sit down and draw out a will. Contesting a will because of greed just shows the world who you really are. I remember when I was little they used to call people like that vultures, and pointed them out whenever anyone in the family died they were there with a truck to get whatever they could sell as soon as possible. Today lawyers are vultures as well drawing on the whim of the mentally unstable and morally broke in order to get a bigger payday.
Thanks a lot for that comment, which I agree with, tho' fortunately I don't think I have any problem with the lawyer currently involved. I do understand the benefactor's reasons for apportioning things in the way chosen, but sadly one relative doesnt
Freedom of testation is a fundamental right. In life you have the right to give your possessions to whom you choose, so why should this change in death? Fairness is subjective. What one person considers fair, another may not. So I would say the answer to your question is Wrong.
Ruth, your point 'in life you have the right to give your possessions to whom you choose, so why should this change in death?' seems a valid and good way of looking at this. I'm writing a general comment about these answers too. Thanks.
Different states have different laws governing the right to contest a will. When a person (testator or testatrix) make a will and is of sound mind, then that is a huge hurdle for anyone contesting the will. However, there are cases where it has been shown that the person making the will was unduly influenced by someone so as to benefit themselves. Most states have provisions that allow for the contesting of a will where there is undue influence. There are a lot of qualifiers to finding that someone was unduly influenced and they vary from state to state. I have never heard of any will contested on the basis of "fair play." Not saying there are no laws on that. Just have never heard of that before.
If a person was unduly influenced by another, then he or she was not of sound mind. Again I state that if a person of sound mind wants to leave someone something and makes a will that will should stand.
Thanks a lot browsing. I guess as Galadriel Arwen says, undue influence would render the person as 'not of sound mind'. In this case, I know there wasn't undue influence as no one even knew at the time that the will was being drawn up. Appreciated.
I think it's wrong. A will is a will. If there are other grounds to try to contest it that might be one thing - but not "fair apportionment". Heck... No wonder whoever died left "certain people" less than s/he left other people! People sometimes leave more to one person because they know the others are in a better situation. Sometimes they'll leave more because they feel that person sacrificed a lot to care for them or else was particularly supportive at one time or another. Sometimes they're concerned that one person will be better able to take care of - say - a lifetime's worth of savings. "Fair play" is a concept for other settings/situations - not wills and family members. The person who thinks in terms of "fair" and "fair play" at a time of a family member's death would seem to - maybe - be on the immature side and not able to understand why some people do some things. And again.. the lack of respect for the deceased individual's wishes doesn't paint a very flattering picture of the person either.
Thank you Lisa. I really appreciate your view. I agree totally with everything you say, and the note about 'one beneficiary being particularly supportive at one time' is very relevent to my case. A general comment on all the answers will follow.
I thank all those who have responded so far to this question. I am pleased to say, I am very much in agreement with all the general points, and also some of the specific points which apply in my case.
I don't think it is right and proper to go into details about the will in question, but I have been seemingly 'favoured' to some extent by a parent's will. One other beneficiary in particular has been very hostile to this, and I think another is less hostile but understandably still very unhappy. It has contributed to an unpleasant situation. I don't know yet whether it might be contested or not, but I genuinely feel that it can show a lack of respect and love to oppose a parent's last wishes and I do know the reasons and understand why my parent wanted to apportion assets in the way chosen.
In the light of some very unpleasant comments by one relative, your comments have helped to my mind at rest that I am at least thinking in the right way about the morality of this. Thanks. Alun.
When my grandparents were sick or needed money my folks stepped up; did not advertise. At their demise their home was willed to my folks. One sibling understood, the other contested and lost at cost. Why? Greed!
Thanks Galadriel; that's very broadly similar to the circumstances in my case.
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