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Is it legal for a friend to will his home to me if there are living family members?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My close friend has appointed me executor of his will and it includes leaving me his home and all the contents.  He has living family members and I’m concern they will contest even though they are receiving other assets.

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

A person’s Last Will is valid as long he had testamentary capacity, is over 18, and the Will has been witnessed. If your friend is of sound mind, he is free to leave his assets to whomever and however he wishes.
That being said, anyone can contest a Will at any time. The family members could claim that you exerted “undue Influence” and used coercion so that your friend was tricked into leaving you an inheritance. For instance, when an aide moves into an elder’s home, takes over his finances, drives him to an attorney’s offices and viola, the aide now inherits everything, there has been undue influence. If you have a close, long-standing friendship with the elder and you were not present during the attorney-client meeting, then that is a different story.

Also, typically states honor what is called a no contest clause. That is a provision in the Will where if one beneficiary challenges a provision in the Will or the validity of the Will and loses, then the beneficiary forfeits all of his inheritance. It can serve as a good deterrent.
Your friends should bring up those issues to his estate planning attorney.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice. Circular 230 Disclaimer: Any information in this answer may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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