How can I find out if my mother disinherited me?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 24, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I think my 2 brothers have ripped me off of my mother's inheritance. Their attorney convinced my mother that I got "enough" from my father's inheritance and had her sign a will disinheriting me. How can I find out the truth?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

This is a bit of a ticklish one"”since it seems that your beliefs might be based on hunches or hearsay, and you might never really know whether there was a conversation with an attorney, or what your mother's real thoughts were at the time.

You don't say whether your mother is still alive. If she is, your best option may be to have an honest talk with her, since wills are usually not made public until a person dies and the document becomes part of the public record in the probate court. As long as she is mentally competent, she is free to leave her property however she sees fit.

If possible, allow her the chance to explain whether she if fact did cut you out of her will completely"”and if so, to explain her reasoning. Many parents do look at the cold hard math of a situation"”and decide to leave property to their children unequally to "balance out" the values among them, which may have been lopsided because of gifts they received during their lifetimes"”or from other sources. If that's your mother's reasoning, it may be difficult to hear, but at least you will have heard it from her"”and will hopefully be able to move on.

If you are in the situation of seeing the will because your mother has recently died, you have two options: Either accept the situation"”or challenge the will in court if you truly feel your brothers or their attorney may have unduly influenced your mother when she wrote the will. Such legal challenges are usually rather difficult to prove"”and will likely require that you hire an attorney of your own.