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Why disputes between stepmothers and stepchildren often emerge during the probate process

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2021 | Probate Litigation |

There are a variety of factors that may result in delays during the probate process. Contested wills are one of the most notable reasons why probate cases drag on. Stepmothers and their stepchildren are most frequently involved in such disputes.

A study published by NextAvenue shows that 20% of adults and their stepmothers don’t get along. The researchers discovered that these relationships tend to deteriorate over time.

What do these disputes center around during probate?

Many stepmothers outlive their husbands, which leaves them often inheriting their wealth. The study’s authors discovered that stepchildren are most apt to contest a parent’s will when their inheritance is significantly less than their stepmothers’.

The researchers found stepchildren often file undue influence claims in cases like these. This most often happens when the adult child’s father experienced a mental decline immediately before their death. This may also occur if an adult child’s father and stepmother were only briefly married before the dad’s demise. It’s not uncommon for disputes to arise between stepmothers and stepchildren over burial preference as well.

Do you meet the grounds to contest a will?

When they realize that they’ve been written out of a will or short-changed in some way, the first inclination many beneficiaries have is to try and contest it. However, meeting the requirements to do this are two different things.

You have to be able to produce evidence showing that some type of impropriety occurred. Doing so isn’t always easy. You may want to consult with an attorney about the steps you’ll need to take to make your case.