Disputes between stepmothers and their stepchildren often result in probate delays

| May 25, 2021 | Will Contests

When individuals speak about details that may delay the estate planning process, they often mention challenges in locating beneficiaries and selling off assets to facilitate the distribution of assets to heirs. 

Sometimes, however, the disputes are personal. Many individuals may not realize how many legal battles during the probate process involve stepmothers and their stepchildren. There are many reasons why this is the case.

Is it common for stepmoms not to mesh well with their stepkids?

Research published by the media company NextAvenue captures how 20% of adults struggle to get along with their stepmothers. Time doesn’t heal all wounds either. NextAvenue’s research shows that adult child-step parent relationships tend to deteriorate in time. 

Why do stepchildren and their stepmoms struggle during the probate process?

The NextAvenue study’s researchers determined that stepmothers often outlive their husbands. This leaves stepmothers inheriting the bulk of their husbands’ wealth. The researchers discovered that stepchildren are most apt to contest their deceased parent’s will the more inequitable their inheritance promises to be compared to their stepmothers’. 

Stepchildren are most apt to wage undue influence claims in instances such as these, especially if their father and stepmother married only a short time or their father experienced a mental disorder before their demise. Probate disputes also often arise over a stepmother and step childrens’ differing perspectives on burial preferences. 

Contesting a will isn’t easy

Many beneficiaries claim that they’re going to contest a will when they discover that they got short-changed. Contesting a will is a lot easier said than done, though. 

The burden falls on your shoulders to prove that undue influence occurred, for example. You must back up any allegations with evidence. An attorney can review your case to determine if you meet the valid grounds for contesting a will and if so, advise you on how to proceed from there. 

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