Having parents who have divorced and remarried is a common scenario for many Texas residents. In some cases, relationships with stepparents may grow, and the bonds they form may be strong. However, in many instances, individuals -- especially older children -- may not bond with a parent's new spouse, and issues could arise. Stepparents could even impact whether probate litigation occurs after a biological parent's death.
It was recently reported that stepmothers in particular stood at the center of many probate disputes. Apparently, individuals tend to bond less with stepmothers, and in many situations, children may believe that the stepmother had an ulterior motive for marrying their parent. As a result, the adult children may feel the need to contest a will, especially if a stepmother receives a considerable amount of the estate rather than the children.
Stepfathers can also end up as the point of conflict as well. However, these scenarios seem to involve stepmothers more often because women tend to live longer than men. As a result, there are more widowed women, some of them stepmothers, than there are widowed men.
It is not uncommon for individuals to feel that their stepparent only married their biological parent for money or reasons other than love. These feelings can feel enhanced after a parent's death and an uneven distribution of property. If Texas residents feel that a stepparent or other individual may have taken unseemly actions in order to obtain a self-benefiting outcome from a person's will, they may wish to consider probate litigation for contesting a will or other documents.
Source: Forbes, "Stepmothers: The Cause Of So Many Estate Fights", Michael Hackard, Jan. 23, 2018