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My Stepmother Stole My Inheritance  

The issue of warring stepfamilies after the main breadwinner passes is generating some heat in estate inheritance circles, as adult children accuse step-spouses of grabbing the lion's share of the estate.

The first step is to make a will and an estate plan and update it regularly. "Inheritances are less likely to be stolen if they are assigned in a will or an estate plan," says Masini. "When parents specifically state who gets what when, in these legal documents, there is less to fight about." Masini advises families to update their wills every five years if you're over 60, and every 10 years before that.

Also, blended family parents should share their estate plan with any adult children, or with the executor, while they're healthy and alive, Masini says. "The more your post-death wishes are known, the less likely family feuding over inheritance will be part of your legacy," she notes.

Another good idea is a prenuptial agreement. Not everyone is crazy about prenups, but they're highly effective in nipping estate inheritance wars in the bud, says Richard Winblad, an estate planning attorney at Winblad Law PLLC, in Edmond, Ok. View entire article here.

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