Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Question Raised of `Undue Influence' on Will

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Question Raised of `Undue Influence' on Will

Article excerpt

Q: My father died a few years ago. In his will, he left everything to his third wife, but upon her death, everything was to go to my two daughters. I don't have a copy of the will. I do know that he wasn't very coherent during his last year, and I think his wife may have influenced him to write his will this way. I don't believe it reflected his true wishes.

My sister and I feel that we weren't treated fairly by the will. My father's third wife is in her 80s. Upon her death, is there anything we can do to see that our father's true wishes are fulfilled?

A: The use of undue influence on a person making a will can be sufficient reason to bar a will from being admitted to probate. Note that the term is not just "influence" but "undue influence." Proving undue influence isn't easy. It's not enough to have a simple feeling that someone may have influenced the maker of the will. You also may have a problem with the passage of time. The normal time limit in Missouri for contesting a will is six months from the date of probate or rejection by the probate court, or from the first publication of the granting of notice of letters, whichever is first. I don't think the question of whether your father's third wife is alive or dead has anything to do with the question of how long you have to act. To pursue this matter, you should call a probate lawyer as soon as possible. Q: I'm planning to rent an apartment soon. Would you discuss some pros and cons of a lease versus a month-to-month agreement? A: They vary depending on your needs. For some, a lease is better; for others, a month-to-month agreement is better. Let's compare some of their characteristics. A lease is for a fixed period of time, typically a year, although they can be longer or shorter. The important point is that the length is fixed. When you sign a lease, you are making a commitment to rent an apartment for the entire period of the lease. The landlord, in turn, is making a commitment to let you keep the apartment for the same period. …

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