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Family matters

Rochelle explained that her husband wanted the 33 acres of land to be left to his three sons, which would leave his stepdaughter with only one-quarter of whatever was leftover from the couple’s combined assets.

“Cinderella — the step-child — has to go and mop the floors while the three other ones go to the ball,” Ramsey joked.

“Does it occur to him how hurtful it is when he says that?” Ramsey asked. “[What if] you said, ‘that’s hurtful, you’re a butt.’”

The couple plans to sell their current home and use the money to build a new home on the inherited 33 acres. Rochelle told Ramsey that she contributes to nearly half of the family’s income, which makes the situation regarding her daughter even more unfair.

While Rochelle brings in roughly $55,000 from her job annually, her husband brings in slightly more at $65,000. Ramsey pointed out that, since she’s contributing 50% to the house that will be built on the inherited land, then her daughter should have a cut of the money down the road.

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How to avoid inheritance disputes

Ramsey’s final take? “It’s just a stupid piece of dirt,” he said, adding that it would be unfortunate if Rochelle’s daughter assumed that her stepfather had chosen to “value that dirt over relationships.”

Ramsey also suggested that this type of situation might be worth taking up with a marriage counselor.

Approximately 70% of Americans lost a piece of their inherited wealth due to family squabbles over a loved one’s estate, reported the Washington Post. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

Ramsey believes that, in this instance, all four kids should be treated equally given that it's a blended family living under one roof. “He’s her daddy now,” he said.

Some of the most common issues that arise with inheritance disputes involve unequal distributions of wealth, complex family dynamics and general greed.

However, there are ways to avoid a legal battle, including creating a trust and will, clearly communicating your intentions and trying to be as fair as possible when splitting your assets among immediate family members.

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Adam Palasciano Freelance Writer

Adam Palasciano is a freelance contributor to Moneywise.

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