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We’re meeting with an estate attorney

MorningMia's picture

We have wiils. The problem is DH was recently told by a trusted non-gossipy family member (which adds credence to the shared info) that this person has information that should DH die (which almost happened last fall), his adult skids will contest DH's will unless they feel they are left an appropriate amount of money. It's about a sense of entitlement as well as punishment. The thing is his will leaves everything to me (skids don't know this, but I assume it's suspected). We live in a state where a contested will could hold things up for years, which would very much harm me even if everything was ultimately ruled in my favor. 

This news was jarring, to say the least. It has shaken me to my core. I feel very naive that it has hit me this way. Why would I be surprised? I guess because I can't imagine having such a plan, especially against someone who has never harmed me.
 

So, we are going to set up trusts and be very clear and specific about property. I have all of my plans in order so that the skids never benefit from what I have. Initially, DH asked me that should he pass before me to give the skids whatever (cash-or property-wise) I felt I could do without hurting myself financially. Now, he doesn't want them to have anything except perhaps belongings of his that I might not want. 
 

I know it's been said in here before and people have given good advice. Get everything in order if you haven't already. Imagine the worst of what could happen and act on that. 
 

Im saddened and disgusted (again). 

 

hereiam's picture

Even before DH and I created wills, we had each other as beneficiaries or TOD on everything (bank accounts, investments/retirement, cars, house in in both names, etc).

DH's will has a notorized affidavit with it, stating that he purposely left his daughters nothing, it was not an oversight. And, I believe his will states that anyone who contests it, gets nothing (or something like that). I have no kids, so there's no issues for him if I go first.

I know my SD32 thinks she will eventually get our house but when DH and I both die, but we have a TOD on that, too, and it goes to our niece. 

I don't know why these people think they should automatically inherit stuff. In my case, my DH had nothing when we got together 27 years ago, so....

CastleJJ's picture

My grandparents created a blended family and kids on both sides felt the same about their entitlement to their estate. To remedy that issue, they stipulated in their wills that anyone who contested the wills would lose their portion and their lost portion would be returned to the estate and redistributed amongst the remaining recipients. Their attorney said it was highly recommended and legal. Guess what! When my grandpa died, nobody contested the will. They all talked about it, but nobody actually did it because they didn't want to risk losing their portion. 

Merry's picture

We have a stipulation that anyone who contests the will gets nothing. The attorney suggested it and DH jumped on board. 

2Tired4Drama's picture

what would happen if it is spelled out that a kid gets nothing, yet they contest it?   

In a case like that, they've got nothing to lose and MAYBE they could get something.  If I was a mean-spirited kid and my parent specified that I got nothing, why not contest the whole thing and hold it up ... just for spite?

I imagine the only thing stopping them would be attorney's fees that might need to be paid up front. 

 

hereiam's picture

I don't see how they could get something if it states that by contesting it, they get nothing. But, one never knows.

I think the safest bet, besides a will, is to have everything already designated through beneficiaries, contigency beneficiaries, TODs, etc. It also helps the beneficiary to avoid probate.

 

MorningMia's picture

That is our situation, which is why we are setting up trusts. DH already has me as the beneficiary on his bank accounts and I am the sole beneficiary in his will. (He was considering giving skids cash while he's alive.) I thought everything was well enough in order. But I guess some of this depends on what state people live in. We live in a very adult-kid-friendly state. We are changing things because we now have information that the skids apparently plan to contest the will, especially as it is written (which they don't have knowledge of). A legal battle for even a few years would be very detrimental to my financial well-being. I wouldn't even be able to sell our house during that time. Their actions, as is everything in these situations, would be to punish. 

Winterglow's picture

I read somewhere that you can considerably reduce the chances of the will being challenged by leaving each skid a paltry sum (one dollar) because it's proof that they were not simply forgotten and that their lack of inheritance is quite deliberate.  

I'd be seeing a lawyer to ensure my will is iron-clad and bulletproof. 

Unbelievable turnaround's picture

I'm in the same boat. I have far more assets than my partner which is all in a trust for my bio kids. Our wills stipulate that no one can contest the wills or they will be excluded, and partner wants to leave everything to me minus a few personal items previously promised to his kids.  This is all due to their crappy treatment and entitled behavior over the past few years.

Harry's picture

Doesn't change anything will  wise.  SK have no right to your estate. No more then the kid down the block,  TWO.  once a will is made it's hard to contest it. One would have to say, that they were forgotten. Forgot about.   As the old joke goes. To X who wants to be remembered in my will. Hi x.  
You must protect your self first. You don't know what life brings or how long you are going to live . You need enough money to live on. Money goes fast 

MorningMia's picture

Nope--Cash before death doesn't change anything. But when there are hungry nasty skids and hungry nasty attorneys, wills can be contested. It could be just the fight that is wanted; it could be just holding things up; or it could be that people think they DESERVE something. What a PITA, right? 

Cover1W's picture

DH and I just hired an estate lawyer and will be working with him on our Wills. Dh doesn't have much but with OSD she will like come out with claws extended if anything happens to him and I want to be protected  

Rags's picture

Make sure to put all property and accounts in both of your names and for any insurance policies set the other as the beneficiary.  Insurance is not attachable by heirs if it there is a named beneficiary who are not named beneficiaries.

As I understand it.

Winterglow's picture

THIS! I-m so happy

ESMOD's picture

I just had this talk with my husband last night.. our state is one that does an automatic distribution of the lion's share to biological children if there is no will.  We are going to do a refresh of our wills.. we did one maybe 10 years ago... but honestly.. not 100% sure where the paperwork is.. (we did it ourselves with witnesses which is legal in our state).. so I said we need to do it again.  I mean.. theoretically.. all our real estate is titled to each other.. so I don't think that comes into play.. and insurance policies go to beneficiaries.. but things like 401K might need to be nailed down.

I have told him.. and WILL.. leave everything to his kids.. if he goes first (barring some huge alienation).. I stand to inherit more than he would and honestly.. with no kids of my own.. and a good relationship with my steps.. that is what I would intend to do.. 

In the highly unlikely event that I remarried.. I mean.. I'm going to be 59 this year.. and I don't see any of this happening any time soon.. I guess I might decide to leave some of what would have come from "my" inheritance to a new husband.. but anything that came via what my husband would have inherited.. or that we built together (we own some land jointly now).. would be passed to his kids.

Rags's picture

If you do, anything owned jointly reverts to the sole ownership of the survivor upon the demise of the spouse.  And,... make a will to lock it all up for you and for your DH upon the demise of the first to go.

Under the right of survivorship, each tenant possesses an undivided interest in the whole estate. When one tenant dies, the tenant's interest disappears and the others tenants' shares increase proportionally and obtain the rights to the entire estate.

California is often a topic of discussion for estate planning in blended family marriages.  Not sure if that is the case for you.  But.....

In a community property state, such as California, the effect of the spouse's death is that the entire property automatically transfers to the surviving partner. The property does not need to pass through the probate process in order to be transferred to the surviving partner, meaning the process is simplified.

A 401K will likely go to the named beneficiary on the account.  Call an estate attorney and get a Will.  L

Giving it all to your Skids is fine. I will do the same in the extremely unlikely event his mom checks out before I do.  But... to minimize drama for the survivor, it makes sense to me that the estate is locked up for the survivor's protection and the Skids can get it when the SParent departs.

A Will is a given IMHO. Regardless of the laws of survivirship in any given State.

Lawyer, lawyer, lawyer.  An estate lawyer.  Just not a family law specialist. They tend to be idiots as so many STalkers have experienced.

MorningMia's picture

It would seem logical that everything would automatically go to the surviving spouse. We were shocked to learn that in the case of no will, this is the law: 

If the decedent has adult children who aren't also children of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse now gets $100,000 plus half of the remaining estate. This is an increase from $40,000 under the previous law.

I have heard horror stories around here of SPs kicked out of what they believed were their homes. With this law and this kind of info (and now, thinking back to the questions I was asked when DH was hospitalized, I believe that the skids have looked into this), I think the skids have hope that they could easily and successfully contest anything different (and ultimately benefit BM).

I had a will; my husband did not, but he does now. I'm not so worried about the will not being "locked in" (along with the fact that I am beneficiary on his accounts, etc.), but that he heard there is likelihood that the skids will contest anything that does not match their sense of entitlement. I'm not worried about them "winning," but about them holding things up and making things difficult for me should DH go first. Probate here normally lasts 6 months; if contested, it can go on for years. Therefore, we need to tighten up everything and/or create trusts. 

YES: We have already contacted an attorney! Can't get this done soon enough! Thanks.