When a loved one dies, the last thing you want to deal with is the court. However, most estates must go through probate court. Probate is the process by which the court verifies a deceased person’s will and settles their debts.
Probate court is often an emotionally draining process. The process is long, especially when there is no will or there are disputes about the will. If you are a part of a blended family, there are a few extra considerations to remember when you are dealing with an estate in probate.
More family, more feelings
Each blended family is unique. No matter if there are stepchildren, half-siblings, or a third marriage, everyone hopes to be a part of their loved one’s last wishes. However, when expectations are not met hard feelings often arise. Opening a conversation to the whole family early is a great way to mitigate some of the potential conflicts before they come out in probate court.
Blended families make up a large portion of contested estates in the U.S. today. This happens for a few reasons. Sometimes feelings of unfairness can lead potential beneficiaries to contest the will. In a blended family, there may also be disagreement about how to carry out the final wishes of the deceased. When this happens, a months-long probate process can quickly turn into a years-long fight.
In the U.S. blended families are becoming more and more common. Learning the potential ways this can affect an estate in probate is a good way to help shorten the process.