A $50 million fortune is at stake.

Nina Montepagani exhumed Joseph Viola (right) and found out he wasn't her father.

Nina Montepagani exhumed Joseph Viola (right) and found out he wasn’t her father.

Nina Montepagani believes that the man she called her father all her life was not really her father and won the right the exhume his body. When a DNA test proved that she was not his daughter, she became free to make room on her birth certificate for the man she believes is really her father.

He died five years ago, an Italian doctor whose estate is worth around $100 million.

Montepagani may need to exhume his body in order to prove through DNA that they are father and daughter. The doctor is buried in Rome.

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She is convinced that her mother had an affair with Dr Sebastiano Raeli, saying that it was a thinly-veiled family secret. As the only child of Dr Raeli, she stands to inherit half of the estate.

Montepagani at least received the court’s permission to exhume her father.

Melanie Nash exhumed her father illegally looking for the 'real will'.

Melanie Nash exhumed her father illegally looking for the ‘real will’.

A woman in England also dug up her dead father, looking for his ‘real will’ because she believed she’d received an unfair inheritance. Melanie Nash didn’t find a will, only the vodka and cigarettes her father had been buried with. She told police that her sister, Susie, had hidden the will so that Susie could inherit the entire estate. Their father had run a successful heavy machinery business prior to his death but his daughter Melanie didn’t receive anything from his will.

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There are better ways of settling estate disputes than digging up dead bodies looking for hidden wills or for DNA. One of the best ways is to understand that the law obliges you to make provision in your will for your dependents which include:

  • Your children
  • Your step-children
  • Your spouse
  • Other dependents (in limited circumstances)

As the Mead case in Western Australia proves, this provision includes children conceived outside of the marriage relationship (or so-called love children).

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How can you ensure there aren’t bitter fights over your estate once you’re dead?

  • The will is not the place to exact revenge on your spouse or children
  • The law expects you to treat family members fairly. You may wish to cut off a child from your will, but the law allows that child to contest the will to receive a fairer outcome
  • Seek advice from a specialist in this area of the law so that you know that your will is valid

We offer a FREE 10-minute phone consultation. Contact us today for peace of mind.