What if a Will/Trust Does Not Reflect the Decedent's Wishes at the Time of Their Death?
Humans constantly change their minds about things and as a result it is very common for someone to die with a Will/Trust that no longer reflected their wishes at the time of their death. Because of this it is common to have someone request my help in ensuring their loved one’s true final wishes are executed. situation that potential clients present to me is when the decedent’s estate plan does not match what their wishes were at the time of their death.
Unfortunately, in most circumstances there is not much you can do to ensure that their true final wishes will be acted upon. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be able to do some legal maneuvers to get as close to their intent as possible. The first thing you have to do is look at what the decedent wanted at the time of their death compared to what their Will/Trust said. You then have to look back at any previous Wills/Trusts or what the intestate succession would be and decide if any of those more closely line up to the decedents final wishes.
If they do, then you would make a determination as to whether the most recent Will/Trust was revoked or invalid in any way. If it is, then you could make an argument that the most recent Will/Trust is not valid and instead the distribution of the Estate should revert back to the previous Will/Trust or intestate succession.
However, it is important to keep in mind that this is a very unlikely scenario and even if the previous Will/Trust better reflected their wishes you can only get to those documents if the current documents are proven to be invalid.