Every family has a story

Every family has a story

I often get calls or emails from potential clients that start with: “You won’t believe what is happening in my family.”  Then comes a summary of betrayal and greed.

My response is that I can believe it.  Every family has a story, and just about every family has parts to the story that are not necessarily uplifting or flattering.  Sometimes that involves disputes regarding money, including control over money.  Disputes with siblings, with parents, or step parents are not rare and of course I don’t get calls when things are going well.

That provides some context to this story from the New York Daily News regarding a very wealthy  widow who gave up her Chinese daughter for readoption after eight years — then tried to cut the girl out of her husband’s $250 million estate.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the article details some less than flattering allegations regarding the widow’s parenting methods:

“In fact, court filings show Emily is much better off in her new home — where she’s able to sit at the same dinner table with the rest of her family, unlike when she lived with the Svenningsens.

Once in 2003, as punishment for “disobeying major house rules,” Emily was forced to sleep in a tent for a week, according to court papers. She was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital; a witness said she was covered in bug bites. Svenningsen, asked at her deposition what rule Emily had broken, said she couldn’t remember.”
Fortunately, this story is extreme, even if it has appeared to end relatively well for the adopted girl and her new family. I view a significant portion of my job as helping clients move past the betrayal and receive at least some measure of justice, even if only in a financial sense.

Texas estate dispute lawyer: michael.young@somlaw.net

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