Various factors may result in probate litigation, but disputes between stepmothers and their stepchildren are surprisingly common sources of conflict.
There are many reasons why such battles over an estate between these two parties often cannot be resolved amicably and escalate into litigation.
How often do stepmoms and their stepkids not get along?
The media company NextAvenue recently published a study that highlighted how an estimated 20% of adult children reported not getting along well with their stepmothers. That same study showed that the divide between stepmothers and their stepchildren only grows wider the more that time passes.
NextAvenue’s researchers pointed out that stepmoms commonly outlive their spouses and inherit most of their assets. This fact often leads their stepchildren to contest their father’s will. This is particularly the case the more inequitable their inheritance in comparison to their stepmother’s.
Most stepchildren who contest a parent’s will do so on the grounds that their stepmother subjected their father to “undue influence.” This often happens when their father and stepmother were married briefly before their father’s passing. This may also occur if the father became mentally incapacitated prior to their death.
You also cannot overlook the emotional conflicts that come from blended family situations where people hold different values and beliefs. There are even cases in which stepchildren or stepmothers have pursued probate litigation to address different burial preferences.
You must have a plan when pursuing probate litigation
Contesting someone’s will and pursuing probate litigation is seldom easy. It can be emotionally and financially draining. To learn more about your options, it’s always wisest to discuss your concerns with an experienced advocate. You may not be able to avoid litigation, but you can definitely be more prepared for what may come.