practice areas

Most stepmothers and stepchildren often don’t get along, especially the older the child is when the new mom comes into the picture. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that as much as 50 percent of estate battles are brought by adult kids against their dad’s most recent wife.

The number of estate lawsuits filed by adult children against their stepmothers is significantly higher than those that are filed against stepfathers.

One reason that legal analysts argue that stepmothers face significantly more lawsuits is that women tend to outlive men. The current life expectancy for females is 86 whereas it’s only 84 for males. As of 2018, there were an estimated 11.2 widowed females compared to just 2.9 million males in this country.

Another reason that these battles get started is due to stepmoms and their stepchildren seldom getting along. Data shows that only 20 percent of adults get along with their dad’s second wife. These relationships often fail to flourish over time.

There are trends for that stepmom and stepchildren disputes often follow.

If the marriage between a parent and stepparent was short or the parent developed dementia in the years before their death, then the adult children may argue that their stepmother subjected their father to undue influence when making estate plans.

Even if a marriage lasted a long time, stepmothers may have formulated a list of favorites in their mind. They may have convinced their spouse to draft a will that benefits some of their kids that they best get along with over others. They may have even been successful in getting them to draft it so that own children are appointed as beneficiaries as opposed to their stepchildren.

Estate battles are often fought between stepmothers and their stepchildren over how the dad’s body will be handled and where the remains will end up. These types of disputes often happen within hours or days after their passing.

Challenging and defending wills and trusts in California when you’re trying to grieve a loved one’s loss can be both emotionally taxing and financially crippling. An experienced, diligent attorney can help you resolve some of the most complex estate matters on your behalf.