Adult Estranged Child Not Entitled to Anything From Parent’s Estate

HNWElder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

Adult Estranged Child A client’s late mother and daughter were estranged for years, but she was still shocked to learn mom cut her out of her will and gave her brother everything.  The client thinks he poisoned her mind against his sister.  Is this legal?  Can the daughter sue for her share of mom’s estate?

Here’s the Answer

Probably not.  A parent is not legally obligated to leave anything to an adult child.  Moreover, challenging a will is no small task.  You must have a legally sound reason, which can include one or more of the following:

Undue influence:  Was your mother subjected to coercion to make out her will this way?  Was it your brother’s idea?  Did he select her lawyer, or drive her to the office, or remain in the room during her consultation?

Lack of testamentary capacity:  Did your mother have the mental ability and memory capacity to understand what she was doing when she decided to exclude her daughter from the estate?

Fraud:  Fraud can take many forms.  Was she told that the papers she was signing were something else other than her will?  Did she leave her daughter out because she was told something untrue?

In my estate planning practice, I find that a child who is cut out often gets what they put into the relationship with the parent.  Obviously, I do not know what caused the client and the mother to be estranged.  In any event, if she wants to proceed, she must discuss the issue with an experienced probate litigation attorney to be confident with the outcome.

Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey probate estate litigation matter.  I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns.  You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County New Jersey Probate Estate Litigation Attorney

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