When a loved one dies it is a horrible moment of grief for everyone involved. Unfortunately, it is also a time when their estate comes into question and it can bring out the worst in people. Whether you have lost someone or not please read on so that you are aware of what can happen when someone passes in your family.
When someone dies their estate will be left to others. They generally have a will that says who gets what, but not always. The first question that their legal representative will try to understand is what is their estate worth. This can be tricky to surmise as they have to dig into accounts, assets and anything else that may have been of value to the deceased.
A story recently emerged of a woman who was given a gift of $16,000 by her step-mother and father. A few days later her father passed. The woman paid for the funeral, costing $2,000. Yet she soon received a phone call from her step-mother saying she wanted all the money back.
The woman’s mother suggested that she needed to take the money back as it would look suspicious to any legal team. She argued that it could be considered he was hiding money as his estate goes through probate. However, this is not true. Anything given while the deceased was still alive can be written off as a gift and would not go through probate. The money is no longer his and not a concern of the courts.
It is possible that the step-mother was confused about the legal proceedings and may be panicking in her weakened emotional state. It is also possible that she was taking advantage of her step-daughter’s grief and looking to take money back. While we don’t want to think the worst, we have to be smart in these moments of bereavement. If you are not you could be tricked out of your inheritance or worse tricked out of what is already yours.
While it is a tough topic to discuss, please be vigilant during these moments in life when you lose a loved one. You should agree with your family on how best to deal with the issue of the estate and work it out as a family. Don’t accuse anyone of being deceitful as they may be in a strange place but don’t trust blindly either.