A St. Louis case demonstrates how a blended family can be a challenge for estate planning.
Both millionaires when they married in 1980, Mary Lee and Robert Hermann Sr., who had children from previous marriages, signed a prenuptial agreement aimed at protecting their own respective children.
According to the Riverfront Times in “In Probate Court, a Wealthy St. Louis Family Becomes Bitterly Divided,” now there are serious questions about the assets accumulated since they have been married.
Mary Lee began having doubts and wondered whether her individual assets were being used inappropriately and whether joint assets were being used for the exclusive benefit of Robert’s children. When she asked her husband, he responded by giving her a $1 million check.
The check bounced according to documents filed in court.
It is unclear from the report how this case made it to court in the first place. It appears that Mary Lee hired an attorney and that she might want to change her will to leave her assets to her grandchildren instead of her children.
For their part, the children of Mary Lee are arguing in court that her attorney should not be allowed to represent her as they claim she is mentally incompetent and needs a guardian. She denies this through her attorney.
Even though she still lives with her husband and the two get along, her attorney claims that she has considered filing for divorce just so she can get an accounting of the money.
Blended families are anything but easy as this case shows.
An estate planning attorney can help guide you through the challenges of caring for a blended family.
Reference: Riverfront Times (Feb. 8, 2016) “In Probate Court, a Wealthy St. Louis Family Becomes Bitterly Divided”