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Old September 6th, 2008, 01:05 PM
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Beth Beth is offline
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Re: Encouraging Parents to Put Final Wishes in Writing

nonnymouse, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think you have a huge potential problem here. It's commendable that your mother started out with your step dad accepting his kids and included them into her life insurance. But playing nice does not mean the outcome will be. I have been there and done that.

You are very right to be concerned for your mother's well being should your step dad die. And I will add that it could become a huge ordeal for you to get through with things the way they are now.

Why did your step dad cancel his life insurance? And were you listed on his like your mom did for his children? This is a red flag to me unless he had a significant reason. You also stated your mother puts all her earnings into their daily living. Does your step dad do the same? If not, where does his money go? Your step sister does not want the property sold. Sorry, that implies she expects it to come to her. And, she will break into the safe when her father dies? Bingo, another red flag. These are all signs that when dad dies your mother will have a fight on her hands and may end up without any money. And your step dad is telling your mom one thing about the property and his daughter something else.

Your mom needs to address her concerns with her husband. There are ways to ensure that everyone is taken care of appropriately through a living trust. I will tell you that money changes people and they become greedy little animals when someone dies. They need to sit down with a pad and paper and address each and everything they own. Bank accounts, stocks, life insurance, jewelry, real estate, furniture, heirlooms, etc. Find a home for everything. Then go to an estate lawyer and get it in writing with a statement in the will that says anyone that tries to contest the will, inherits nothing. That statement will stop that action. It's actually very common in wills now.

I think that if two people come into a marriage later in life and they each have children, it becomes very difficult. His children may not recognize your mom having a right to anything. That is why a trust is so important. It needs to be legally done, not just written down and given to the kids.

And it may be that your mom and step dad did not come into the marriage with the same assets. One may have more that the other. Seems reasonable that everything should not come out even for all children or the living spouse. But provisions should be made to allow comfort for the surviving spouse. Your mom should not be left out in the cold if her husband has assets. But care must be taken to ensure his children also benefit in some way. The way to do this is a trust. This tells everyone that your mother and step dad BOTH made the decisions together. End of argument.

This is a hard discussion to approach. But I would think after 15 years it could be accomplished. Neither of them should worry needlessly. I would think that your step dad would make it a priority if he loves his wife and wants her to feel secure. It's time to get it done. Good luck with this. You are right to be concerned.

And by the way, I happen to think that while your step dad is recouping, this is a perfect time to discuss this and write everything down. What else does he have to do that's more important.

Last edited by Beth; September 6th, 2008 at 01:20 PM.
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