If you want to contest a family member’s Will it is important that you do everything right and within designated time frames. Probate Courts will not wait for you to learn what you need to do, nor will they make allowances if you miss deadlines. The battle over Sherman Hemsley’s Will is a good illustration of this.
About a month before he passed away, Hemsley wrote a Will and left everything to a woman he claimed was his “beloved partner.” A man named Richard Thornton came out of nowhere to challenge the Will and claim that he was Hemsley’ half-brother. However, people familiar with Hemsley did not know about a brother. Recently, DNA tests confirmed that Thornton is Hemsley’s brother, which would ordinarily make the Will contest case much better. However, Thornton missed the deadline to have the DNA results entered in evidence in the case and the Court will not consider them.
Make sure that you hire an experienced Probate attorney as soon as you think you might want to contest a Will. You do not want to miss any important Probate deadlines.
Davidov Law Group is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.