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By: Scott Grossman on September 13th, 2016

One of the strangest will contests I have seen

What happens in a will contest when the testator is still alive

In one of the strangest will contests I have seen, Robert Jaeger is suing four of his siblings over his mother’s estate.  Patricia English has eight children.  Once released from the hospital following surgery her son came to live with her.  Jaeger says his mother told him she would leave her entire estate to whomever cared for her.  Jaeger stayed for seven years.  During that time English says she grew tired of Jaeger making demands of her. Allegations that Jaeger was isolating his mother from the rest of the family surfaced.  All of this is pretty typical for a will contest.

This will contest gets strange in that Jaeger filed this will contest while his mother is still alive.  After removing Jaeger from his mother’s home, she changed her will to leave her estate to four of her children, not including Jaeger.  Jaeger alleges the new will is the product of undue influence and filed his will contest. This will contest takes an even stranger turn, Jaeger is claiming $1,000,000 in damages. His mother says her sole asset is a house with about $130,000 in equity.  With five parties involved it would be unsurprising if they collectively spend more than that to take this will contest to trial.  Find the entire story here.

What does this mean for the court case?

It is surprising the probate court judge in this case is allowing the will contest to go to trial.  Mrs. English is still alive so she could change her will again.  If she does revise her will then its possible another will contest could ensue.  The probate court judge is practically inviting a second will contest if the will is changed again.  That second will contest would waste the probate court judge’s time and all of the involved parties’ time and money.

This will contest would not likely be allowed to proceed in a California probate court.  The probate lawyer defending the will contest would assert it’s premature until Mrs. English passes away.  If the will contest were allowed to proceed it would be impossible to calculate damages (if the will contest petitioner wins) and its impossible to know who the correct parties to the will contest are.