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Stepparent actions can lead to estate litigation

With the high level of divorces that occur in the United States every year, numerous people in Oregon and elsewhere end up getting remarried and have to work on blending their families. Sometimes this is easier said than done. When it comes to the death of a parent, there can be big problems between stepparents and stepchildren during the estate administration process, to the point where estate litigation may be unavoidable.

Recently, a concerned individual sought advice about a problem he or she had with his or her stepmother. This person claims that a will was left behind by his or her father, but the will was never seen during the administration of his estate. There was an understanding that he wanted to ensure his wife was taken care of, so she remained in the home they shared up until her death. After she died, the house, instead of being bequeathed to his children, went to her daughter. Now this individual and his or her siblings want to know what they can do to get the inheritance they are confident their father intended to give them.

The affected family members may be able to file claims against their stepmother's estate in an effort to claim their otherwise lost inheritances. If they can find their father's will, that could certainly help their case. If they can establish that their stepmother intentionally blocked their access to their father's assets, that may also help them as they seek a share of her estate.

Hiding wills is unconscionable, yet it happens more often than people think. Those who believe that they were blocked from their inheritances due to the actions of a stepparent can seek help as they work to resolve the matter. Estate litigation is not an easy thing to get through, and it is helpful to have someone who knows Oregon probate laws at one's side.

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