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What happens if there are multiple wills?


Many Saint Paul residents have taken the time to draft a will. These estate planning documents are important to determine how assets should be distributed upon the testator's death. But, what happens if multiple wills are discovered?

Multiple wills can be a surprise to a family. Many people understand the importance of updating their estate planning documents throughout their lives when major life events occur. These events can include the birth or death of family members or the divorce of the testator. Wills can also be updated to change the recipient of certain assets, so having multiple versions of a will is not unheard of. The problem with multiple wills is that the testator may not have their assets distributed according to their wishes.

The court will use the most recent version of the will to distribute assets. Those who have created multiple wills should destroy previous versions to avoid this situation upon their death.

Challenging a will because of undue influence, fraud or another valid reason is something that happens occasionally within a family. If one family member accuses another of undue influence, it can be an emotional time that may lead to deep family rifts. A legal professional who is skilled in probate litigation understands these complicated matters. They have experience mediating these situations to help a family work together and make sure the deceased's intentions are honored.

Occasionally, an estate runs into problems when it enters probate. Having an attorney at this time can be helpful for a family.

Source: thebalance.com, "Is Your Last Will and Testament Legally Binding?," Julie Garber, March 6, 2017

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Mason & Helmers
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