Q: What is the probability of winning a contest to a codocil signed 2 days prior to death of a terminally ill cancer patient who is heavily medicated? I was unaware that she was terminally ill and only found out from my Aunt Kathy (my mom’s sister) on Friday Sept. 27th. At that time my mother was being sent home from the hospital to die. I learned that she had liver cancer and a tumor in her lungs. She was given days to live. In May of 2013, my mom called me to let me know that she was working on her will and she needed some information from me. I thought nothing of this call as my husband’s parents and my stepmom and dad had also been making these arrangements. It seemed perfectly natural. She told me that Morgan (my daughter) and I were her primary beneficiaries and she told me that I would be the executor to her estate. I have a copy of my mother’s original will dated May 15th, 2013, that outlines pretty much exactly what I expected. You will also find a codicil dated September 27th, 2013 leaving her house, all contents of the house and car to Juanita Johnson. It also removes me as executor of her estate
A: This is a case that you really need to review all of the facts with an attorney. First the attorney can look at the Codicil to see if it is legally binding. Codicils are still permitted but must be executed with the same formality as a will-at least signed at the end by the testator. With the invention of word processors, hardly anyone, especially attorneys, draft Codicils anymore, which leads me to question who drafted it, and it’s legality. The attorney can also help you and advise you on how to gather information as to your mother’s state of mind at the time she executed this document. This can come from her doctor, hospital staff or other witnesses.