Estate planning is an issue that should be given its due diligence. However, even if you put forth your best effort into creating an estate plan for your family after your passing, if your family is blended, your chances of your estate ending in estate litigation definitely increase. Why? It almost always comes down to blood.
Disagreements between stepchildren or even step-parents are common. Even if they got along relatively well while you were alive, after you pass away there will likely be animosity. Often when one of the primary members of a blended family passes on, it becomes evident that they were the glue that held everything together. With that glue gone and tensions already high from grieving, it naturally leaves room for disputes even when a fair estate plan is in place.
Unfortunately, estate plans are not perfect. The number one cause of disputes in blended families comes from alterations to a plan. While the deceased likely wanted to make sure everyone was cared for, it is easy to argue undue influence by certain newer members of a family.
However, at the end of the day, it does not matter who starts estate litigation or for what reason they are doing it. If there was action taken against a loved one’s estate plan after their death, then it needs to be addressed. Not fighting back against a claim of undue influence or any other estate litigation issue will often allow the courts to sway in the favor of the accuser. This could put you at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to getting your fair share of the estate. If undue influence was not an issue, this indeed means that the deceased wanted part of their blended family to inherit so they are taken care of. To not stand up against litigation is to allow their wishes to be trampled.
If you need representation to help you with the estate litigation process, contact us today.