What do you do if your inheritance in a trust or will has been taken or is threatened by another family member? I'll start with some guidance that I draw from my experience:
An estate planner is not an estate litigator. This conclusion needs some elaboration. There are some great estate litigators who are also great estate planners - but this is rare. The rigors, strategy and tactics of litigation are a somewhat uneven fit with the more evenly-paced practice of estate planning. The differences can be as dramatic as the style and comportment of a mediator from a prizefighter.
Get a second, maybe even a third opinion. We have seen meritorious and ultimately successful cases that were rejected by estate planners or other estate litigators. I[...]
Providing an objective assessment for the frequency of stepmother-step-children probate and trust battles is elusive - but to ignore it is to live in another world. For us the anecdotal evidence is in. Case by case - Will Contests, Trust Contests, Life Estate challenges, Probate Objections, Deed Revocations or Joint Tenancy quarrels -- the interests and paths of stepmothers and stepchildren often collide. In California, these collisions of interests play themselves out in the probate and civil divisions of our state's Superior Courts.
Anyone living in the real world wouldn't be surprised by research showing that only about 20% of adult stepchildren feel close to their stepmoms. Moreover, studies show abundant evidence that stepmothers and [...]