Blended Families Are Quite Common
It's very common to see blended families here in Minnesota today. When I say blended family, I mean a family with children from different relationships. Because there are so many blended families, people should know that estate planning for these families requires special measures.
A Minnesota Family Faces Probate
Let me tell you about a Minnesota family. A woman we will call Patty is 55 years old woman and lives in Stillwater. She married Peter about twenty years ago and lived happily with him until he passed away from cancer last winter. While she cared very deeply for Peter, Elyse, his daughter from a previous marriage, was a constant headache. Elyse always seemed to be causing problems and getting into trouble while she lived in the house.
Now that Peter has passed away, her stepdaughter Elyse is saying that she is entitled to Peter's assets. Patty is scared and confused about the situation. Peter never said anything about Elyse getting his estate, but Patty doesn't know where to go to ask for help. In fact, last week Elyse and her boyfriend drove off with Peter's truck and boat.
What can Patty do?
Dealing With A Minnesota Probate
Under Minnesota law, Patty may be entitled to part or all of Peter's estate. However, the first thing she needs to do is find out if Peter had a Will. If he did have a Will, she needs to determine if the Will is valid.
If Peter is like many people, he may have passed away without a will. If this is the case, Patty should be entitled to the estate under Minnesota law. Despite this, people like her stepdaughter Elyse may falsely claim that the property is what Peter wanted her to have anyway. It can be scary to confront members of the family in this type of situation, so it's a good idea for Patty to consult with an experienced probate attorney to get the facts.
Once Patty finds out the answers to these questions, she will have a better idea if her stepdaughter Elyse is entitled to any assets. If Elyse is not entitled to anything, she may be in serious trouble for taking Peter's truck and boat.
Patty would be wise to contact an experienced probate attorney regarding these matters. Since Elyse has already started taking things, time is of the essence. Even if Patty is the beneficiary of these items, it may be difficult to recover them once Elyse has them sold.
Each year in Minnesota step families are faced with the passing of a Loved One. Spouses of the deceased can be faced with an especially stressful time. Dealing with the loss of a husband or wife and the hurtful actions of stepchildren can be very hard. 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 assets.
I'm Bill Peterson, Minnesota Probate Attorney. If you have lost a spouse and your stepchildren are laying claim the estate, I can help. Call me, toll free from anywhere in Minnesota or across the country, at 952-641-7312 for a free, no obligation consultation. Thanks and have a good day.
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.