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Ambiguity and errors in will fuel inheritance battle

People in Washington State who create a will should be able to expect that its terms will be followed as identified. However, this may not always be as simple as one might wish it to be. Despite the intentions of the person who created the will, the language used in the final document might leave some areas of it open to interpretation. This may then contribute to potential heirs disputing the will.

An example of this can be seen in the case of two women who died 12 days apart from each other. According to The New York Daily News, the women had been a couple for 18 years although they had chosen not to get married. One of the women was a psychologist and owned two properties and had other assets that left her with an estate valued in the millions. She worked with an attorney to develop a will that was finalized three months before her death due to cancer.

The will stipulated that her partner would inherit specific gifts of tangible property so long as the partner outlived the first woman by 30 or more days. If that did not happen, the items were to be given to multiple charities. The second woman died 12 days after the first. This fact makes some believe that the gifts identified would then go to the charities.

Two of the items were real property, not tangible property. This is one of many errors alleged in the will and part of why the daughter of the second woman to die is contesting the will. She asserts her mother should have inherited the items. She would then inherit items from her mother.


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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
7331 196th Street, SW
P.O. Box 1067
Lynnwood, WA 98046

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