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Family Feud: Estate Edition

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No family is immune from the ravages of estate-related fights.

Not even the families of well known celebrities and politicians. 

Fred Thompson's progeny are not happy campers.

The sons of the late former United States Senator and Law & Order star are pursuing a lawsuit against their father's widow in a fight over the Thompson estate.

According to The Tennessean, they have filed a suit that accuses Jeri Thompson of having undue influence over their father at the end of his life, resulting in him making significant changes to his estate plan, including:

  • Changing the beneficiaries of his life insurance policies
  • Changing the beneficiaries of his retirement plans
  • Changing ownership over his personal property, including real estate

They content he made these changes while in a state where he lacked the mental capacity and reasoning to do so. As a result, the sons believe the changes are not valid and should be declared null and void.

How will this case turn out? It's anyone's guess, but unless there is compelling evidence of undue influence, the law is likely to side with Jeri Thompson. Unfortunately, these cases can create lasting divides within families as they hold grudges over legal and financial matters rather than functioning as a loving family.

We hope your family never goes through such a fight. With that in mind, here are some simple tips for avoiding the worst of it:

  • Speak openly with your spouse and children about your end-of-life wishes and what you want done with your financial assets and property
  • Work with a skilled attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan that includes a will, trusts and other appropriate documentation
  • Update your estate plan as needed to account for life changes such as marriage, the death of a spouse, and significant financial changes

Do you have questions about creating an estate plan or making sure yours is up to date? In your neck of the woods you can turn to the proven professionals of Schwartz Law Firm.

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