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Next Avenue: Why stepmothers are so often the villains at the heart of estate fights

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org. It is excerpted from “The Wolf at the Door: Undue Influence and Elder Financial Abuse.”

I read the latest summary sheet of our law firm’s disputed probate, estate and trust cases and came across an insight that should have been obvious (but wasn’t): About 50% of our active disputed-estate cases involve litigated differences between stepmothers and their stepchildren.

In all different cases — will contests, trust contests, life-estate challenges, probate objections, elder financial abuse, deed revocations or joint-tenancy quarrels — the interests and paths of stepmothers and stepchildren often collide.

Not an ‘evil stepmother’ stereotype

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