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Widow and late husband’s family dispute value of his estate

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2017 | Estate Planning

People in St. Charles are encouraged to see to their estate planning matters so that disputes over their final wishes can be avoided once they are gone. Yet no amount of planning may make up for family dynamics that tend to contribute to estate disputes. Experts often point to cases where one with children from a previous marriage marries again later in life as being those were clashes over estate assets are quite common. 

This assertion is currently playing out in a dispute between a Maryland widow and her late husband’s children. Last year the woman chose to renounce the provisions related to her in her husband’s will to instead accept the one-third share of his estate that she was entitled to under state law. How much that actually is lies at the heart of her feud with the decedent’s family. The most recent valuation of his estate came in at just over $155,000. However, his widow claims that its value should be well over $1 billion thanks to his controlling interest in the bakery empire that had founded. She believes that he left numerous cash hoards stashed across different safes and bank accounts, and now his children (who  she is petitioning to have removed as his personal representatives) are hiding that money from her. The will the man left offered no instructions as to how his estate was to be dispersed, instead referring to a trust that likely contains such stipulations. 

While it may be easy to understand the frustration felt by one who believe he or she is being conspired against, many may still hold to the notion that one’s final wishes should be honored (no matter how much it may upset certain beneficiaries). An attorney may be a great asset to turn to when trying to resolve such disputes. 

Source: The Baltimore Sun “Dueling financial portraits of John Paterakis emerge in legal battle between widow and children over his estate” Marbella, Jean, Nov. 27, 2017