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Probate litigation rends high-value Midwestern estate

A highly regarded Midwestern political influencer's estate is currently contested, as the woman's daughter argues that her brothers "sabotaged" her inheritance. In a probate litigation suit filed against her family members in Illinois' neighboring state of Missouri, the daughter claims that her brothers coerced her mother into signing a document to reduce her inheritance amount. The documents demand that all legal bills related to certain types of litigation be paid by the younger woman's share of the estate.

Court documents allege that the men intentionally manipulated their mother to amend a trust. The effects of those document changes left the daughter with few choices except to seek legal action, she argues. The opposing parties say that the woman has racked up more than $1 million in legal fees related to the estate administration case, and they should not have to pay for her poor decisions. The woman's brothers also say that the case was stirred up with the express intent of generating a news story about the estate planning case - they do not believe that the woman really intends to seek a reasonable outcome.

This is just one example of the type of estate planning issues that can arrive after the death of a wealthy and highly visible figure. Probate administration becomes more difficult with high-value estates, which is why will planning and trust administration are absolutely critical. Proper documentation could prevent challenges with regard to distribution of assets.

Beneficiaries who are concerned that they are being financially harmed because of the actions of others deserve representation in the probate administration process. You may be entitled to more assets, depending on the nature of the contested property. Enlisting the help of an estate planning expert can pay off in the long term.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Schlafly daughter alleges brothers sabotaged her inheritance in ongoing family fight," Kevin McDermott, March 22, 2017

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