The more complex a family arrangement, the more tailored estate plan is likely needed. For local residents this often takes the form of second or third marriages, with children and different step-relatives. The "default" rules may not be good at accounting for these various relationships and balancing the unique needs of wishes of each family member. Yet, even in the most extreme cases, an estate planning attorney is able to craft the best possible arrangements, provided participants are open and honest about their situation.
But, things can get particularly sticky when there are secret relationships or other family dynamics that are not incorporated into a plan.
Mistress & Children Fight for Inheritance
This concern was vividly demonstrated in bizarre and tragic case that is making national headlines. A millionaire businessman, Ravi Kumra, was murdered in late November. A group of men apparently broke into his home, bound the man, and ransacked the home for valuables. Kumra eventually died from asphyxiation as a result of being gagged.
Kumra divorced his wife in 2010. However, his ex-wife still lived with him at the time of the attack--she too was bound and beaten, but survived.
In the aftermath of the murder, much has come out about Kumra unique lifestyle, eventually involving a feud over his inheritance.
Most notably, Kumra apparently was intimately involved with many different prostitutes who often stayed in the home (where the ex-wife still lived). In fact, the group of attackers (who were arrested) were allegedly connected to some of those prostitutes.
Initially Kumra wealth was going to be split between a group of family members, including his two adult daughters from his previous marriage. However, one of the former prostitutes eventually came forward and claimed that she was entitled to a family inheritance because she gave birth to two children (now 9 and 7 years old) who were fathered by Kumra. She sought the inheritance on their behalf as living descendents of the slain millionaire.
The matter was brought to court where, according to a Weekly Times story, a judge recently agreed that there was "clear and convincing evidence" that the children were indeed fathered by Kumra. As a result, the judge awarded the woman and her children $1,800 per child per month for the allowance. According to the mother, Kumra had the children with her intentionally and, since her pregnancy until his death, paid her several thousands dollars every month to be a stay-at-home mother.
This is obviously a unique situation. However, it is a testament to the complexity that can arise in any number of cases when various living arrangements are not handled as part of established estate planning efforts.