During the estate administration process, issues can crop up for a number of different reasons. In some cases, siblings simply can’t get along. In others, they think the will is a fraud or that it doesn’t accurately reflect what their parents would have wanted. There are numerous reasons for will contests, challenges and lengthy court cases.
One key thing to consider, though, is that they are more common when a parent has remarried. Experts note that these situations often pit adult children against a second or third spouse.
For instance, maybe a man got married, had two children, and then got divorced. Twenty years later, he got married again. The children had long since left the home. They have no connection with this new spouse. She is not their mother, and they never really feel any sort of family bond.
However, the father may love that person and stay married for decades, until he passes away. His perspective is very different. He may want to leave a lot of his wealth to this new spouse. His children, however, will feel like a “stranger” came in at the end of their father’s life and took the assets that should have gone to them.
As you can imagine, this is a complex and emotional situation. It can lead to a lot of unique problems and issues with the estate plan. Everything could get tied up in court for a while as the two sides try to sort it out. If you find yourself in this situation, no matter which side you’re on, make sure you know what legal steps are available.