Perkins & Dupré LLC
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Probate: Did your stepmom give your inheritance to her children?

When a parent dies, the estate administration process can be a difficult thing to get through. It can be even more challenging if a stepmother is involved. Far too often, in Louisiana and elsewhere, stepmothers are accused of keeping their husband's assets for themselves and then passing them on to their own children rather than giving them to their stepchildren. When this happens, probate litigation may be the only way the offended parties may see any part of their supposed inheritance.

An individual in another state recently asked for advice on how to address a matter involving a stepmother and a hidden will. This person claims his or her father had a will, but that it was never produced or followed during the administration of his estate. It was known he wanted to provide for his wife while she was still living, but upon her death, the assets were passed on to her daughter, and her stepchildren were left with nothing.

This is a challenging case in a number of ways. Several questions need to be answered. Did a will actually exist? Has the statute of limitations for filing claims against an estate passed? Did the stepmother act unlawfully during the administration of her husband's estate?

Answering some of these questions may prove difficult. At the end of the day, if it is possible to prove that a will did exist, that the statute of limitations has not passed and that the will was not followed during the estate administration process, the stepchildren in this case may file claims against their stepmother's estate in order to seek the inheritance denied them after their father's death.  An experienced probate attorney can assist those in Louisiana who find themselves in similar situations as this individual by reviewing the details of their cases and pursuing any legal actions deemed appropriate.

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