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Siblings battle over change to deceased father’s estate plan

Among the primary reasons as to why Woodland Hills residents are encouraged to begin the process of estate planning early on in their lives is to avoid the potential for future disputes arising amongst their beneficiaries. However, having one’s wishes stipulated in estate planning documents may not provide an iron-clad guarantee that disagreements will not occur. One may be surprised to see how bitter estate disputes can become, and how quickly the beneficiaries involved can expand their alleged grievances to target other parties.

An example of this is currently playing out in a case that originally involved a dispute between the children of a former Illinois real estate developer. Several of the siblings brought action against a few of the others, alleging that they had convinced their mother to undo the estate plan of their father to leave large portions of his assets primarily to one of his sons. Under the amended plan, the assets were distributed equally.

During the legal proceedings that followed, the plaintiff group of siblings alleged that the firm they originally hired to represent them did not prepare them adequately for trial, forcing them to find other representation. They later filed suit against the firm, saying that its miscues cost them over $3 million. A subsequent struggle has since begun between the firm and the siblings as both sides fight to have their dismissal motions recognized.

While some may question the decision to continue in what may to appear to be such a troublesome struggle over an estate, those who are party to it who feel as though their loved one’s last wishes are not be respected may find such a fight to be worth it. If so, then they may be wise to enlist the assistance of an estate planning attorney to support their claims.

Source: Cook County Record “Palos developer’s heirs accused of ‘judge shopping’ in quest to force ex-lawyer to pay $3M for miscues” Bilyk, Jonathan, Dec. 01, 2016

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