Estate Planning

Planning for Special Circumstances

Are You Married To An Evil Stepparent?

by Rania Combs

broken-heartI received a call from a woman whose father recently passed away. His death was not unexpected. He had cancer and knew he was going to die.

She saw her father just a few months ago when he and his new wife traveled to visit her. He told her he had a Will and had named her and her siblings as beneficiaries of his estate and life insurance policy. His new wife appeared supportive, reassuring them that she would do what was necessary to carry out his wishes. That all changed after he died.

At the funeral, the woman asked her father’s wife for a copy of the Will, but she denied there was one. She asked for some of her father’s personal effects, but his wife declined to give them to her. All her father’s photographs had been removed from the house he shared with his wife within a couple of weeks after his death.

There are many stepparents who have a close relationship with their stepchildren. This is especially true when the couple is married while the children are young and the stepparent helps raise the children. But this is not always the case. Sometimes, children are grown when a parent remarries, or personalities clash and the relationship with a stepparent is nonexistent or strained. In those situations, conflict can result.

If you are part of a blended family and you plan to leave a significant portion of your estate to your children from another relationship or perhaps to disinherit your children in favor of your spouse, it is important to understand that there is a potential for conflict.

In that case, a properly drafted Will dictating exactly how you would want your assets distributed is essential. Additionally, naming a neutral party as executor of your Will and keeping your Will in a secure location that can be accessed by the executor can ensure your Will is accessible and your wishes are followed.

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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