Claims her stepchildren have cut her off from $200 million fortune
Christine de Galavis claims she is destitute, after her stepchildren stopped paying her a lifetime stipend of $5000 per month from her late husband’s $200 million fortune.
She met the shipping multi-millionaire Robert J. Pierot in 1995. He had four children from a previous marriage and had been divorced for 20 years. After a whirlwind romance, they were married a year before he was diagnosed with cancer. She cared for him until his death in 1997.
In exchange for a monthly stipend of $5000 for the rest of her life, de Galavis agreed to give up any stake she might have had in her husband’s fortune. De Galavis says she didn’t need any more and was not interested in taking more from the estate.
For eleven years, the monthly stipend was paid into her account until it inexplicably stopped in 2011 without warning. De Galavis says she hasn’t heard from her four stepchildren since their father’s death.
Her lawyer says: “This is a case of spiteful, greedy children who inherited a vast fortune, including substantial offshore holdings, trying to cut out their father’s last love.”
However the lawyer for the four children says the story is quite different from de Galavis’s version. They claim that Robert and Christine were not legally married, that there was no agreement to pay her a stipend for the rest of her life, and that Christine was no more than a ‘companion’ for Robert in his dying days.
Christine has sued the children for $3 million in damages.
They’ll do the right thing.
Estate planning becomes more complex when blended families are involved. While all parties, there may be harmony and assurances that all will ‘do the right thing’ when it comes to dealing with the will. Yet the most common scenario is the new spouse and children from a previous marriage turning against one another in a bitter estate battle.
Often the new spouse will try to cut off the children from the previous relationship from inheriting any assets. Sometimes the children will try to evict the new spouse from the family home. No matter the circumstance, such disagreements invariably end up in court.
The act of marriage revokes any previous will
It’s important to know that the act of marriage revokes any previous will. So if you intend to get remarried, you should update your estate planning. Some things to consider when considering your new will:
- Do you want your new spouse to continue living in your home if you die? If so, for how long?
- What would you like your children to inherit if you die?
- What will you provide for your step-children?
- Would your plans change if your adult children were themselves divorced or bankrupt?
- Would you want to make provision for grandchildren?
Always seek the advice of a specialist in wills and estates who can help you make provision for your needs, no matter how complex. Contact us now for your FREE 10-minute phone consultation.