Think my sister tampered with dad’s will

July 22, 2020

Dear Pastor,

This is the first time I am writing to you but I read your column every week and I listen to your show every night. Your show is very entertaining and educational.

I have a friend who saves the Tell Me Pastor column; she does not destroy it after reading it. Please keep up your good work.

I never thought that I would ever have to write to you. But there is a problem in the family that needs to be resolved. My father has six children. My mother died three years ago and one of my sisters moved back in to take care of our father.

It was a family decision that she should live at the house. Our father did not stop her from taking her boyfriend; he did not want it to be a permanent thing though.

After she was living at the house for a few months, her guy used our place as his permanent address and then he got my sister pregnant and our father encouraged them to get married. So they did.

We became suspicious of the guy. My father had shown me a will that he made before he became very ill. I asked him for a copy of it and he promised me that he would give me a copy but he never did.

After my father died and was buried, I asked my sister for the will and she said that she had it. When it was presented to me, it was totally different from the one my father showed me. I was moved as an executor and replaced by my sister's husband.

My sister was also made an executor and some of the things that were mentioned in the will that I saw were taken out. I talked to my other brothers and sisters about it and they were furious.

They believe that the will was tampered with. I understand that nothing can be done about it now. So I am seeking your advice.

For example, this present will says that my sister who is living at the house and her husband should get the house upon his death. One of my brothers said that cannot be true, father would not do that.

Now they don't want my sister's husband to stay in the house at all. But my father is dead and he is the only one who knows the truth. Can you advise us on what to do?

M.T.

Dear M.T.,

It is only the last will that your father made that is relevant. Your father probably showed you a copy of a will he made but he could have changed that will. Some folks have written new wills every couple of years or even yearly.

It is not a bad thing to do because as one gets older, one may acquire more wealth and one may wish to distribute the wealth in different ways, especially if the children are grown.

I say that to caution you to be careful what you say about your brother-in-law and your sister.

I don't know what went on but I do know it is prudent to revise wills from time to time. If your siblings are unhappy about the new will, you can discuss the matter with an attorney, and he will advise you on whether you have a case.

Be careful not to waste money. Listen to the attorney. Make sure that whatever you do will not cause a big rift in the family.

Pastor.

Other Tell Me Pastor Stories