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Contesting A Will

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - If you don’t think you got your fair share in someone’s will, how do you contest it?

George Jefferson may have been movin’ on up, but Sherman Hemsley, the actor who played him, isn’t going anywhere so fast. His body for now remains in an El Paso mortuary where a lawsuit (brought by a man claiming to be his brother) over the will – written six weeks before his death – brews in a Texas court.

The woman who Hemsley calls his beloved partner of 20 years and to whom he left everything, says she’s never heard of the man and believes that Hemsley has no brother. Which raises the question: who gets to contest a will?

In order to contest a will, you have to be an ‘Interested Party’ – a person who was named in a previous will or would have inherited money if there was no will or if the will is deemed invalid.

A brother would be an interested party – if he’s actually the brother. But you don’t just get to challenge a will because you don’t like what you got. You have to have a legally accepted reason: the person was not of sound mind when he wrote it, someone used undue influence to get favorable terms, fraud, or improper execution.

For now, Hemsley’s estate remains on ice literally and figuratively until the court sorts this out.

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