Is it legal for an executor of a will to add names to the deceased will? 8 Answers as of October 16, 2017

My brother in law (C) was pop's executor to his will because his daughter didn't want to. He is son from 1st marriage, he had 6 kids from that one. Pop remarried in 1952 to my honey's mom and they lived and raised the kids they have together as well as the 6 kids in the same house he built in 1935. Now pop died and in his will, half property went to all kids to split. And other half was mom's part with house on it. Well, all these years later, we had to put mom in home and she wasn't even in there for couple months before we got notified the property was being sold, to hurry up get her stuff out! Now 2 kid's from pop's 2nd marriage have copies of pop's will that was given to them. And on it are names of who all get a portion of said property. In (A)&(J) copies it's only his kid's from both marriage's and his wife (my honey's mom(CH)). But when he came to tell us, all he said he had a lawyer and that anyone who contests will be taken off. I guess it's in his will to keep the kids from fighting over it. BUT he went and added 12 names to the list of people on pop's will. Yes they are pop's nieces and nephews but are not on the other copies of the will the other kids have. Everyone was in shock and don't think they can fight it. They don't understand how he can change it after pop's is gone. What's the point of the will then? Now the property pop's left mom she said she wanted to go to one of her son's and her left over retirement to another son. Well the step son sold her house and property anyways. I'm so glad she wasn't aware of it, it would have killed her. She told us all she had a will made up and what it basically said. But none of us knew where to find it and everyone is mad and hurting that he did it like this. Well he sold it and had the the title company divide it to all he listed. Now everything she had with her husband is gone. An she just passed. We found a letter from an attorney asking if all names were still current on her will.

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Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
Your situation sounds extremely complicated with many parties involved. While she was alive, no one should have been able to transfer the property without her consent. Now that she is deceased, it is important to make sure her will is a valid one and that her husband's estate was handled correctly. It would be helpful for you to retain your own attorney to make sure everything has been done according to your mother and father in law's wishes and no one has unlawfully benefitted from their estate.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/16/2017
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
No one can add names to a will. If the testator wishes to do so, a new will must be made. Because there is real property in the estate, the estate must be probated. The will filed with the court is on file in the court records and you can view it to compare with names added. If wrongly added, you can sue the personal representative. Further, since mom owned one-half of he property, she would have had to approve the sale of her one-half. She would also get one-half of the sale proceeds. Talk to a probate attorney immediately!!
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/12/2017
Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, P.C. | James E. Reed
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/12/2017
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
It is a felony to change another person?s will. And the change is unenforceable.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/12/2017
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
This is a very complex question that can?t be answered without seeing the documents. But to answer your main question the executor cannot add names to the will. However, when a will is in probate, the executor is required to file a document with the court that lists all of the decedent?s heirs. This is separate from the will and does not indicate that any of these people are entitled to any part of the estate. It?s just a list of names and addresses for the judge to review. That may be the document the executor is referring to you say he added names to the will. However, every heir and especially those who are direct descendants, such as your wife should have gotten copies of the will that was submitted to probate. If she didn't, contact the probate court and see if they can find and make her a copy the original. As far as your mother-in-law?s right to keep her house, there may be a number of valid reasons why it had to be sold. Payment for her end-of-life expenses or medical care may have required that the house be sold. Or there may have been a clause in the will that said she got to keep the house as long as she lived in it and at some point she stopped living there so the house was sold. You need to contact an attorney with experience in probate and ask him or her to review all the documents from both estates. That may clear up some of this confusion. If you truly believe that the executor acted unlawfully, you will need to file suit in court and ask that judge to review the executor's actions.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 10/12/2017
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
    It is not proper for an executor to add names to the deceased's will. Only the deceased has that power. This may need to go to a probate court to decide. You need to talk to an attorney that handles estate litigation, to see (1) how much this will cost; (2) how many of the original beneficiaries that attorney can represent for cost-sharing purposes; and (3) what you think your chances of success are. A consultation should not be very expensive. If the executor will admit to what he did, then this could be resolved quite easily.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/12/2017
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    A will can only be changed by the creator and only if the change is properly attested to in a codicil. Take the will to an attorney. If you contest the will and are successful you will not be left out.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/12/2017
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    I'm sorry, this is too complicated a scenario to work through on a website. No, it's absolutely not OK to add anything to a will. However, it sounds like Pop died years ago. His will should have been submitted to probate, and once the probate procedure was completed and the probate closed all those matters would be finished. I recommend that you hire a lawyer to work through this. The "No Contest" clause would not protect a personal representative who committed a straight-up fraud on the court, such as adding names to a will.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/12/2017
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