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Thomas N. Torzewski, LLC

Estate litigation often happens when a stepparent is involved

Many adult children in New Jersey and elsewhere whose parents remarry later in life fail to get along with their stepparents. When their parent dies, they may question a lot of things regarding the handling of their estates. Sometimes, in such situations, estate litigation is inevitable.

According to a recent article, stepparents -- particularly stepmothers -- are actually the root cause of numerous estate litigation cases. Why? First, stepparents and stepchildren do not always agree on how things should be handled. Second, some children may believe that their stepparent manipulated their biological parent into changing estate plans in order to benefit them and their own children.

Estate litigation is more likely to occur following short-term marriages in which estate plans have been adjusted, though it can happen following long-term marriages as well. Undue influence is a real thing. However, proving it occurred can be a challenge sometimes.

When a parent passes away, most children do not really want to fight about how his or her estate is administered. Unfortunately, sometimes, it becomes necessary. How one goes about fighting will ultimately affect estate money and family relationships.

Estate litigation can be a difficult process. Fighting with a stepparent and his or her own children can get ugly. Those who work on resolving issues early and with cool heads are likely to save time, money and a whole lot of emotional grief. An experienced estate litigation attorney can help those closing out family estates in New Jersey take the appropriate actions to fight their cases in court.

Source: forbes.com, "Stepmothers: The Cause Of So Many Estate Fights", Michael Hackard, Jan. 23, 2018

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