Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guaranteed Court Fight

Probate conflicts and issues involving blended families and second marriages are increasing. The issue is how to ensure that both the second spouse and the children from the first (or previous marriages) are taken care of. One of the problems is that if a spouse dies and leaves everything to the surviving spouse, the chance that the deceased spouse's children from prior marriages receiving an inheritance becomes pretty slim, even after the death of the second spouse.

What often happens is that the children from the first family live to see the home they grew up in end up in the hands of the children of their step-parent. That can be a bitter pill to swallow.

The laws of the state will dictate what share your children are entitled to and they may end up in court disputing the value and nature of your property. It's expensive and it destroys relationship between step-parent and step-child and between siblings.

Estate issues involving step families can be complicated and emotional. Some of the disputes are intractable. Part of the problem is that there is often no pre-planning. If you are getting married and have children from a previous marriage, you are handing your children and new spouse a fistful of problems should they survive you.

See a lawyer to change your estate plan, or to create your first one before you get married.

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