The man recently died at 61, leaving behind an estate estimated to be worth between $650,000 and $1.4 million.
Hours before he passed away, he married a woman with whom he had had a long-term relationship and a daughter. That marriage entitled her to a share of his estate, since Pennsylvania automatically gives spouses a portion of their husband or wife's assets, since it does not want a surviving spouse to be financially destitute.
Now, the man's family has taken the wife to court. They allege that the marriage was false, and that the woman substituted her judgment for the man's when she convinced him to marry her.
To further complicate issues, a 24-year-old woman has come forward, claiming to be the man's illegitimate daughter. She also believes she is entitled to a portion of his estate.
These are the kind of disputes that estate planning attorneys can often help smooth out, either by working with a testator in advance or by stepping in once things get complicated.
If you are interested in speaking with an estate planning attorney, we handle that type of case frequently. Please feel free to contact us if and when it is convenient for you. We would be happy to help you identify a path for moving forward.