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Children believe that step-mother filed false will for father

In the world of estate planning, anger and resentment can reach a very high level if heirs of a testator believe that they have been improperly left out of that person’s will. These individuals may go to extreme legal lengths, including claiming undue influence or fraud, in order to get what they believe is theirs. In a recent example of this, two children of a deceased physician have gone to court because they believe that their father’s will was fraudulent.

Dr. Nathaniel Shafer died in 2013 at the age of 83. However, when his revised will went through the probate process, all assets and proceeds from his $10 million estate were left to Shafer’s second wife and her child from another marriage. The will left no assets to Shafer’s own son and daughter. The children believe that their step-mother acted illegally and filed a false will which left all of the estate to her and her child.

The two children have now gone to court and have asked a judge to accept the first will that included them in the estate. They believe that their father was too feeble to have signed the revised will and that their step mother exerted undue influence on him during the revision of the will. They are also asking the judge to force a psychiatrist to turn over documents on their father’s and step-mother’s marriage. The psychiatrist provided marriage counseling to them and the children believe that these documents will provide a reason for their exclusion.

Developing a solid estate plan is one way to ensure that heirs will not fight over an estate after the testator has passed away. Any Florida resident who needs to develop a good estate plan may want to speak with an estate planning attorney in order to fully understand the options that are available to them.

Source:, “Siblings claim step-mom filed fake will to get $10 million inheritance“, Sep. 5, 2015

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