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Probate litigation plays out like 'bad Lifetime movie'

The granddaughter of a wealthy widow said her family has been through what can only be described as a “bad Lifetime movie” after they were allegedly swindled out of the family fortune by a man who befriended the grandmother.

The man, who is 66-years-old, was recently sent to jail after being unable to show the court what happened to much of the 87-year-old widow’s estate after she passed away and he was left as the personal representative of the estate.

Additionally, the man -- who claims he fought for the widow’s life after she suffered a ministroke several years ago -- was also left most of the widow’s wealth in her 2006 will. However, the family argues that the grandmother was not mentally sound when the will was executed.

The drama between the widow’s family and her former male companion has played out for more than 10 years and seems anything but typical. However, it is more common than families realize for disputes to occur during the probate process.

In a perfect world, every estate plan and will would be clear so that the benefactor’s wishes could be carried out. However, we live in a reality where controversies arise frequently over ambiguities, contradicting interests and even dishonest intentions.

In cases where will contests or trust litigation does arise, it’s important to have an experienced estate planning lawyer on your side to guide you through the process so that the matter can be resolved efficiently and decisively.

No one wants their family business to play out like a “bad Lifetime movie,” but when it does, there is no one better to have in your corner than an estate planning attorney with experience representing fiduciaries, beneficiaries and heirs in probate disputes.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "Man accused in lawsuit of stealing Dade City widow's fortune sent to jail," Lisa Buie, June 26, 2014

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