Decedent Don is a hard-working and successful Baby Boomer, who lives with his longtime live-in girlfriend, Cohabitant Carol, and his adult Millennial daughter, Successor Sally.
Decedent Don is divorced from his first marriage, widowed from his second marriage, and while he enjoys Cohabitant Carol’s company, he has no interest in giving her any legal recourse to do what she did to her previous ex-husbands. What’s more, they are not common-law married, much to Carol’s chagrin.
Decedent Don has carefully planned his estate and explicitly stated in his will that, upon his death, all his bank accounts, securities, and investments get placed in an irrevocable trust and his real estate property — including the home where they all live — shall be inherited by his only daughter, the pride of his life, Successor Sally.
Decedent Don is at ease knowing his daughter will be taken care of after his death, and Successor Sally is at ease knowing her father has a will, so that Cohabitant Carol cannot steal her inheritance, or prevent her from attaining her slice of the boomerang-Millennial dream: homeownership.
Successor Sally, deep in student loan and credit card debt, knows that she couldn’t possibly afford to assume her father’s mortgage payments after his death.
Often the successor needs a loan modification to bring the loan current and adjust the payment to an affordable level,” according to a report released by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC).
Fortunately for Successor Sally, Decedent Don paid off his mortgage two years ago. When the time comes, Successor Sally will inherit the house she grew up in, and all she has to worry about financially is property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and general maintenance and upkeep.
Unfortunately, Decedent Don passes away suddenly and tragically. Successor Sally informs Cohabitant Carol that she has five days to pack her bags and move out.
To nobody’s surprise, Cohabitant Carol decides to contest the will, asserting that Successor Sally “exercised undue influence to effect a wrongful purpose” — i.e. persuading her father to leave all of his assets to his only daughter, leaving out Cohabitant Carol, and then effectively kicking Cohabitant Carol out of the house once Decedent Don passed away.
Cohabitant Carol drags Successor Sally into probate court.
What happens next? Choose your own adventure below! Check back next time to read the happy (or not-so-happy) ending to this edition of War Story Wednesdays.
OPTION A: Successor Sally did _____ , and ultimately the court sides with Successor Sally.
OPTION B: Cohabitant Carol did _____, AND/OR Successor Sally neglected to do ____, and the court sides with Cohabitant Carol.