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Deceased senator's wife, sons argue over his will

Families can often be complicated, especially blended families. While many are able to seamlessly come together without conflict, others are unable to do so. In some cases, relationships that were previously devoid of conflict may fall apart after the death of the loved one who tied the family together. In order to ensure family harmony, many people in Texas create a will describing their wishes in regard to estate administration and distribution of assets.

Unfortunately, there are some situations where a family member may decide to challenge the contents of a will. If it is believed that someone else placed undue influence on a testator, a legal challenge may be filed in probate court. Such is the case involving the sons and widow of U.S. Senator Fred Thompson as they battle over his will.

His adult sons from a previous marriage were each left $50,000 in his will, and his wife was named the primary beneficiary. However, the sons believe that changes were made to the will during a time when their father was not competent to make such decisions. Thompson's wife argues that the only changes that were made were to include his younger children in the will. The sons are requesting access to certain estate planning documents, but the senator's wife claims that those documents are confidential and not relevant.

In some cases, a person who is ill or mentally incompetent can be taken advantage of, leading to the legal challenge of a will created or altered due to such influence. On the other hand, many times negative feelings between family members can result in unnecessary conflict. Professionals in Texas with estate planning experience can help create documents that are less likely to be successfully challenged as well as provide advice that could ultimately stop a challenge from occurring. An attorney could also assist in presenting a successful challenge when circumstances warrant.

Source: tennessean.com, "Documents: No settlement in Fred Thompson estate dispute", Stacey Barchenger, Jan. 23, 2017

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