Blended Families Dealing With Probate
Blended families are very common in Minnesota today. Since there are so many families with stepparents and stepchildren, it is important to understand that estate planning must be adapted to protect blended families.
A Story About A Coon Rapids Family
Let me tell you about a Coon Rapids family. A woman we will call Tammy is 50 years old, and married Brent after a divorce from her first husband. Tammy and Brent enjoyed a good marriage for twelve years until Brent passed away from a heart attack.
While Tammy loved Brent, she did not get along with her stepson Travis. Travis is a 35 year old under-achiever who consistently caused problems for the family during Tammy's marriage. If he wasn't stealing items from the house, he was drinking and doing drugs in their basement. He was the cause of many arguments between Tammy and Brent.
With Brent's passing, Travis is now saying he should get all of Brent's property. In fact, Travis is already driving Brent's pickup and has started to sell his tools on Craigslist. Tammy is very hurt and confused by his actions. She was a dutiful wife who loved Brent very much, and now her share of the estate is threatened by Travis's greed.
What can Tammy do?
Facing The Minnesota Probate Process
The first thing Tammy needs to find out is if Brent has a Will. If he does, she needs to see if the Will is valid and if so, how Brent wanted his estate to be distributed. An experienced probate attorney can help her with that.
If Brent is like some people, he may not have written a Will. In this case, Tammy could be entitled to the estate under Minnesota law. However, unscrupulous people like Travis may tell her otherwise, so it's a good idea for Tammy to consult with an experienced probate attorney as well.
If Tammy is determined to be the beneficiary, she may have to take legal action to recover the assets that Travis has already taken. Travis could be in serious trouble if he does not work with Tammy to give back the items he has stolen.
Every year in Minnesota blended families must deal with the passing of a Loved One. For the spouse of the deceased, it can be an especially stressful time dealing with both the loss of a husband or wife and the greedy actions of stepchildren. During this time, it is important that the spouse seek good legal advice from an experienced probate attorney to avoid losing out on their fair share of the estate.
The contents of this article are for information only and are not to be interpreted as legal advice. For personal legal advice you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in estate planning and probate.