Stepparents are involved in approximately 50 percent of litigated estate disputes. These disputes usually relate to differences in opinion between the stepparent (usually stepmothers) and the stepchildren regarding estate distribution. It’s important to consider this fact if you have remarried, if you’re a stepparent and if children are involved as it could help you formulate your estate plan in a way that ensures your wishes are adhered to after you’ve passed.
It’s doubtful that these kinds of conflicts are anything new under the sun. They are probably ancient in origin and largely born out of the way people feel entitled to the financial assets of their parents and/or their husbands and wives after losing them to death. Family arguments and disagreements over the distribution of estates are just as universally common as they are destructive.
These kinds of disputes often show up as soon as the person who owned the estate passes away. The disputes are not always financial in nature, either. Sometimes they relate to how the body of the decedent will be handled, where it will be buried, whether it will be cremated and/or how the ashes will be handled. These disputes — whether financial or not — are usually emotional, and for that reason, they can get heated.
If you’re worried about the future sanctity of your family after you’re gone, you may want to look into various estate planning strategies that can safeguard your estate plan. You may also want to have a conversation with your family members to tell them what you want for your estate, so that you can ensure all of them are in agreement and on the same page.