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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Blended family inheritance issues are often sticky situations

Many families in Minnesota are on their second or third (or more) marriage. With subsequent marriages come larger families, including stepchildren. These situations can often lead to sticky situations that cause estate disputes.

One scenario that is common among blended families is that the deceased's entire estate is given to the surviving spouse, leaving their children out. A parent may think that their spouse will distribute the assets to their children upon their death, but many times this may not occur. A surviving spouse has no legal obligation to provide the children with an inheritance. Another scenario is that all the assets are left to a person's children and their spouse receives nothing. This can leave a spouse without sufficient resources to live comfortably. And, another scenario has assets split among children, but not necessarily equally. Parents may split the money based on their children's needs, which can vary from child to child.

A blended family can cause a probate nightmare. Probate disputes are common among blended families, with family members not receiving what they expected with an estate's assets. A legal professional that is skilled in probate litigation can help a family with their probate issues. They understand that these issues are highly contentious and can be emotional. An attorney can help a family work through their disagreements through mediation and other conflict resolution techniques.

Stepfamilies are common sources of conflict in probate litigation. Everyone's expectations about what they will receive from an estate are different. These disputes can lead a family into deep emotional disputes that can last for years. Having legal help can help prevent a dispute from wrecking a family's ties.

Source: thestreet.com, "My Stepmother Stole My Inheritance," Brian O'Connell, Feb. 8, 2018

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