How do we prevent a step-mother of only a few months from sharing in my father’s estate?

UPDATED: Apr 12, 2011

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How do we prevent a step-mother of only a few months from sharing in my father’s estate?

My mom was the bread-winner in our family for 40+ years, while my dad just dabbled in different money wasting ventures. Dad was having an affair 2 years ago before mom died with a woman half his age. This woman moved in the month after mom died. Dad married this woman in 8 months ago. Then dad died in 3 months ago. This woman is now entitled to a 1/3 share of the estate plus much more. She will essentially become a millionaire from only 3.5 months of marriage. Dad had a house, restaurant, and investments. Is there anything that we can do to prevent this unfairness?

Asked on April 12, 2011 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation involved here.  But if your father did nothing to protect his assets then you may be out of luck.  But you really need to discuss this with an attorney in your area to be sure, although it sounds as if you already have and are unhappy with the advice.  I am assuming that everything was in his name and not held jointly.  Although that really does not necessarily matter you can discuss the option of fighting her on the matter with an attorney.  Remember that fighting will eat up estate assets and no one will want that, not even your step-mother.  So the threat may be enough to prompt a settlement in the best interest of the estate.  Good luck to you.

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