Recently I was contacted by Next Avenue, a great non-profit information resource for American seniors that is produced by Twin Cities PBS. Next Avenue heard about my new book The Wolf at the Door: Undue Influence and Elder Financial Abuse and asked if they could reprint an excerpt of the book on their site. The topic Next Avenue chose to address was critical to many trust lawsuits involving elder exploitation: the role of stepmothers in a disputed estate.
At Hackard Law we've written a good deal about how stepmothers are often involved in probate battles over a family inheritance. It's important to say that not all stepmothers are bad or in the wrong, but rather that several factors increase the likelihood of conflict between stepmothers and stepchildren over estate and trust assets. These factors include average longer life expectancy for women in the United States, a much higher population of widows than widowers, and the statistic that only 20% of adult stepchildren feel close to their stepmothers. Add in conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's along with a turbulent family history, and you've got a ready-made recipe for an estate fight with elements of undue influence present.
We're glad to provide Next Avenue with our analysis of how disagreements between stepmothers and adult stepchildren can grow into full-fledged court battles over beneficiary rights. With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, the challenges posed by elder financial abuse and undue influence aren't going away. At Hackard Law we are dedicated to representing beneficiaries in trust, estate, and probate litigation throughout California, including in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Diego. Call us today at 916-313-3030. We want to hear your story and see how we can best help you.