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Man's widow and daughters battle over $60 million estate

Far too few of those in Saint Charles who should be seeing to their estate planning may actually be doing it. One might understand the hesitancy another might have to seriously consider end-of-life issues while he or she is still of sound mind and body. Yet the purpose of estate planning should be viewed as preparing for death; rather, it should be considered a method through which people can pre-emptively avoid having inheritance issues fracture families. 

In some cases, people may point out that the fractures are already there. Yet an equally compelling argument might be made that such cases need to be carefully planned out the most (as the potential for contention is already present). Such cases also might call for increased transparency so that one's intentions are truly known. 

The result of a lack of such transparency can be seen in an estate dispute currently playing out in Texas. On one side are five women who claim their stepmother exerted undue influence over their father in convincing him to disinherit them. On the other is a widow who says that the women abandoned their father years ago and are now only interested in him because his $60 million estate is up for grabs. 

The daughters of the decedent claim that his widow exploited the fact that he was a heavy drinker to convince him at times when he was vulnerable to cut them out of his will. Her attorneys, however, have responded by saying that every will the man has drafted has indicated a desire that his daughters get nothing. 

While all may be encouraged to begin their estate planning early, doing so does not guarantee contention will be avoided. Yet its effects may be mitigated if one has an attorney to available to assist with the process. 

Source: Kilgore News Herald "Two sides detail estate dispute" Draper, James, May 11, 2018

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