Image uploaded by Thiswater, via Wikimedia Commons
To honour a personís dying wishes is, for me, a given. To do otherwise, I feel, would be disrespectful of the deceased and of their memory. Perhaps, there are exceptions, but this has been my experience so far.
Do you think it is ethical to contest a will? Are there any circumstances under which it could be justifiable to dispute a personís dying wishes.
There are always going to be valid reasons 'why' one should contest a will.
But! they are for the most -rare.
e.g. A parent re-marries, then one partner dies, and the new spouse gets it ALL after say 1-2-3 whatever yrs married.
Non of the children get a cent....yet! they were on great terms with the parent that died.
Anything that seems unreasonable, and to me that is...then yes contest it.
I'm a great believer of money being passed on down the line of the family, not new inclusions to that family.
Sure, the new wife can have some....but that is up to the children.
If it was a long second marriage, like 15-20 years, then the children need to be respectful.
''Wills' seem to bring out the worst in people.I have seen it happen over and over.
Peoples feelings are raw as possible, with a hint of greed.
I myself have never contested anything of this kind, and it would take a lot for me personally to do so....I can fully see both sides.
You also have to think about the hurt people have, if they are not left anything.
It's not clear cut, each family is different....you can only hope when the 'Will' is read, people remain calm.
But, that can be too much to even ask.
It is not good to contest, that's for sure...but sometimes when a 'Will' is read, something just doesn't add up...Plus I forgot to say''sometimes the new partner'' can 'hood-wink' the other, who could be in ill health.By doing so, get all that really was not to be theirs in the first place.It wouldn't be the first time that has happened...Common sense and a clear head is what is needed.
My ex mother-in-law was raised by people so grossly wealthy they had their own airport, multiple aircraft, yachts, mansions Ö. you can the drift. Her mother was hideously abusive, she used to cut her daughter's nails so short they would bleed and beat her regularly. Her step father raped and abused her for years as well. They idolised the male children, and abused my mil.
When the mother died she left everything to her sons except $100,000 for each grand child AND her daughter. She didn't even leave the house where mil lived to her, in fact she insisted that mil repay (including huge interest) the value of the house, despite having kicked her out of another house some years previously and buying that one instead (they downgraded her from a million dollar house in Bondi Junction, to a hovel in the bush, literally)
In her case, contesting the will would have been entirely ethical. She didn't though, because she believed that they had given her what she deserved because she had let them down (by speaking about the rape and abuse, and by marrying a man they didn't approve of).
She died a couple of years later, of cancer. And before she died they all came to her deathbed and pretended like everything was roses. No mention of the pain they had caused her at all.
I stood up and spoke at her funeral and I suspect it gave them a heart attack when I did, but I spoke about her and how beautiful she had been and how she had been like a mother to me. I've got a few things I'd like to say to them now, but that day wasn't the right day for it.
The only time when I think it is okay, if there is confusion about certain issues in the will.
For example, my grandmother's original will left money to one of my cousins, but that cousin had disappeared off the radar since before I was born. She crossed out that section so that the money would go to her son (my dad) instead, but she did not have any signed witnesses. Because what she had crossed out was still legible, he was the valid inheritor.
I think we would have been within our right to contest, but we did not. Instead we tracked my cousin down, and it resulted in him reunited with his half sister.