Estate Planning in Stepfamilies

oh_my

We've been married a little less than a year now, but we have not yet gotten to making out a last will and testament together.

I was looking over another thread and the subject of inheritances after the death of a spouse came up in regards to stepkids, and I was wondering how others living in a yours, mine, and ours marriage have their estates planned, and how the children are included for in the plans.

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Jonesy

In Kansas if you do not have plans made and one dies everything goes to the surviving spouse and the children of the deceased spouse gets nothing. I was afraid when my husband died that his kids would sue for half of the estate, my attorney said don't worry about that, by law they are not entitaled to anything. My husband and I were married 33 years so that is a little different circumstances than yours. My husband wouldn't make a will, but he put my name of everything with rights of survivorship. I didn't have any legal problems when he died.

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serenity_now_2007

As for laws, much like with child support & college expenses after 18, etc., it varies state-by-state, case-by-case. In Pennsylvania, if you die intestate half goes to surviving spouse, then remainder to children. In other states the laws are different. Sometimes when a person robs a house, the law locks them up for life; sometimes a person can murder someone and get out of jail in 8 years. But that's laws for ya.

Moral responsibility is another matter. My personal belief is that a person's spouse and children should both be equally important to that person, and that by bringing either into his/her life that person has a moral responsibility to look after the needs of both equally. Because both have needs, and there are different factors involved in the care & support children and spouse, and any mitigating circumstance you can come up with for/against who "should"/"shouldn't", who "deserves"/"doesn't deserve" more or less is likely to be canceled out by some other mitigating factor.

So I basically feel that a person's estate should be divided in equal parts among his/her spouse and children. (So for example: if 1 wife + 2 kids: split in thirds)

In my case, I am an only child and my dad is now married to his long-term GF. For many years, he has explained to us clearly how he has wanted it to be: 60% to her, 40% to me. And I have had absolutelyno problem with that, even though I would inherit a slight bit less, because it's more or less equal, and he's been clear about what he wants, and I respect that.

However, GF and her family have never been content with not getting it all and collectively have tried everything under the sun to finagle (sp?) it all. From trying to convince me and my dad that I don't like his taste (most of it is tangibles, i.e. antiques) and therefore shouldn't have that stuff... to GF arguing for sole inheritance of the house (which I agreed would probably be best)... to subsequently GF's mother ordering my dad to pay off the mortgage on this house she's getting before he dies (as well as a whole other laundry list of repairs she wants done and paid for before he dies to increase the house's resale value, with noise and commotion to be going on around him while he's undergoing chemo and dying of cancer)... to GF's histrionic, flailing, faux-bawling guilt trips about how dare I not "trust her" to handle everything in the wake of her trying to convince my dad that he should just leave everything to her and let her "take care of me" (yeah right) instead of sticking to the plan he's had for over 15 years... to GF forcing me out of my dad's life in his last days and inserting her relatives into his home instead... to her schmoozing up his lawyer and even getting a job in the place my dad goes for chemo... and on and on.

Doesn't seem like rocket science or a Judgement of Paris to me. Spouses and children are equally important members of the family whose interests should be equally protected and provided for. Why do some people (SPs **OR** SKÂs) insist on things being so "all or nothing", so "either/or", so inherently divisive, exclusionary and greedy?

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kkny

Serenity, I think the rule you stated is the general rule in the non-community property law states and Jonesy has it confused as she was listed as right of survivor.

But in any event, I think people should discuss this prior to the marriage and see a lawyer (assuming they have assets). Every family is different. My X has told me that his GF pays no household expenses, and will get very little on his death. She sold her condo when she moved in with him, and she chooses not to work.

Some of the SMs here state that children are entitled to nothing, which to me is very self-serving, and repeat the mantra that the marriage comes first, yadayada. It would be interesting to hear what they say if they had children with the Dad and then were divorced.

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oh_my

Actually, as of this particular moment in time, all my husband would be leaving behind is $50,000 in student loans, a $50,000 life insurance policy, and a small business which would dissolve upon his death, so there wouldn't really be much to divvy up.

I have about $10,000 in savings, a new health savings account with less than $3,000 in it to date, a $50,000 life insurance policy, and $20,000 in student loans. On my savings accounts I have my husband listed as the primary beneficiary and the children, step & bio, listed as equal secondaries.

(Maybe I should be on a financial forum:)

Anyway, if I should pass before the children are grown, god forbid, I would assume my husband would retain custody of all the children as my oldest daughter has not seen her father in years and we will soon file for a stepparent adoption for her, so obviously he would get anything I left to care for them (which right now probably wouldn't end up being enough).

My concern really is how to appropriate funding for the care of my SD in the event my husband would pass before she is grown. Her mother is CP, and we would want her to have any help we could offer in raising her, but we don't know how to go about arranging that. Right now I doubt he would leave much behind, so I suppose as it stands now, I would just help her myself whenever I could, although I don't know that she'd be open to accepting anything from me.

Do you think CP, mom, could ask that half the life insurance be hers to care for SD? He probably needs a larger life insurance policy or maybe one listing SD as beneficiary.

When they're adults we'll obviously change whatever we decide to include all the children directly. We just want to make sure that no one child gets slighted because they're "not mine" or "not his", especially not before they are grown and can hopefully care for themselves.

Maybe it's not of much importance right now since we don't have a lot, but I don't plan on it being that way forever, and I certainly don't want anyone going through an ugly estate dispute in the wake of the death of a loved one.

We're going to go see an attorney, but if anyone has some suggestions that we might like to bring up when we do, I'd love to hear some more points of view. My husband is reluctant to discuss it because he doesn't like to think of the possibility that one of us might pass prematurely, so if I have some clearly defined ideas to discuss, it might be easier for him than talking in abstracts.

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theotherside

If the student loans are federal loans, they die with him.

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oh_my

Wow, that's great to know, TOS. I always thought that I would get stuck with those or him with mine!! I thought a person's estate had to cover all debts, and I know you can't get rid of studen loans in a bankruptcy, so I always just assumed you couldn't get rid of them by dying either. You learn something new every day. Thanks!!

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theotherside

You're welcome. I find it slightly comforting, when I think about the fact that I will be paying back Parent Plus loans until I am a great-grandmother.

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kathline

In our case, I have more assets than my husband does

He makes more money than I do (because I am SAHM)

He has two birth children. I have four birth children. I also have three foster kids that I raised to adulthood.

What we did was make wills leaving our estates to each other, with the condition that upon the death of other one, our estate would be divided equally among all of our living children, his, mine, and foster kids.

We have a clause in there that if the surviving person wishes to change the will after the death of one spouse, then the estate would be divided at tjat time, equally between the birth children of the deceased , the foster kids, and the surviving spouse, leaving out his or her children ( since it would be presumed that that person would eventually leave it to their own birth children)

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imamommy

kkny said:
"My X has told me that his GF pays no household expenses, and will get very little on his death. She sold her condo when she moved in with him, and she chooses not to work."

Is this the same X that cheated on you and left you for his other woman? I wouldn't bet on anything he says now. He may be telling the truth but you may be standing over his casket cursing the rat b'stard... he may get the last laugh.

"Some of the SMs here state that children are entitled to nothing, which to me is very self-serving, and repeat the mantra that the marriage comes first, yadayada. It would be interesting to hear what they say if they had children with the Dad and then were divorced."

As a person (I'm a BM and SM but that's irrelevant to my opinion), I think that children don't have an 'entitlement' to an inheritance. It's a personal choice of the parent to leave anything to their child or the SPCA (or whatever they want to do with THEIR hard earned money) Not all kids are deserving, even if they think they are. Do you think my step siblings are deserving of anything when their mother dies? Marriage does come first because for the last ten year, my father has been feeding her through a tube, bathing, clothing, and changing her diapers (and paying for it) while her birth children don't even call to see if she's still alive, let alone visit or help out. What entitles them to ANYTHING?

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imamommy

However, I do think minor children should be provided for until they reach the age of majority. Anything beyond a parent's 'legal' obligation is up to the parent.

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annkathryn

Term life insurance is relatively inexpensive. For $600/year, you can purchase a $1,000,000 policy, and make all of your children equal beneficiaries. Depending on how many children (I have 2) and their ages (mine are teenagers), this should be plenty to provide care and college funds for them until they're able to support themselves. Designating a guardian for minor children is also important, someone you trust to manage the insurance money for the children's benefit.

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kkny

Ima,

There is no legal obligation to provide for a spouse (absent certin Medicaid issues) either.

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kkny

Ima,

The legal seperation agreement provides that most assets go to DD. But heah, your right, he could have bought another house since I left (which would be kinda hard, as he took out a mortage to buy the house I live in).

And that he has dragged in feet in putting car and house in his name when he could have and hasnt gotten remarried (all of these are public records) is kinda indicative that he is begginning to see the golddigger for what she is.

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imamommy

"Ima,

There is no legal obligation to provide for a spouse (absent certin Medicaid issues) either."

Did I say there is? I said:

"It's a personal choice of the parent to leave anything to their child or the SPCA (or whatever they want to do with THEIR hard earned money)"

That doesn't mean the spouse gets it or even deserves it.

He may be seeing her for the gold digger she is, but he may move on and marry someone else later on. A lot can happen in life that changes things. When my step mom got sick, my dad only owned one house & his business. Now he has a two million dollar property that he didn't have when she was well. He also has other assets because his business has done well. His wife's children see how well my father is doing financially and think that THEY are 'entitled' to it (or part of it) and perhaps their father is telling them to fight for what's theirs. After all, they probably figure it's a community property state and since their mom hasn't died yet, half of everything my dad has worked for is theirs. That's what happens when you give your kids a sense of 'entitlement'. I would certainly feel differently if they were seeing their mom, or helping care for her.. or even calling to see how my dad is. He has struggled off and on with depression for ten years because of the stress. He even had included my step sister in his will because she was helping for a while (and being paid well too). When she banded with her brothers to sue my dad, he took her out of his will. That's what her selfishness got her.

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imamommy

In this, I'm talking about adult children (18+)

Would you leave anything to your child if they had a drug problem? or you knew they would take it and party it away? If they were lousy with money? If they lived a lifestyle you disapprove of? If they didn't work and sponged off everyone?

In my opinion, some of the most screwed up people are those that are given a trust fund and don't have to ever work for a living. Not all are screwed up, but if you look at people on welfare as a whole, there is a whole other mentality than those that work.

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kkny

Ima, That is why the divorce agreement provides for inheritance rights to DD. And I see plenty of selfish SMs out there.

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imamommy

Minor children should have inheritance rights... your divorce agreement may not hold up when your daughter is in her 30's. He may be able to change things later. Selfishness isn't limited to SM's, plenty of BM's & adult children are selfish too. (young children are selfish by nature and should be taught not to be) It's has more to do with a personality trait than marital status.

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kkny

Its a contract reviewed by the best. In essence, I was willing to agree to certain things, but when X dies, everything goes to DD. This arrangement allowed X to live his current lifestyle and DD to have every luxury. As I said, GF sold her condo and should have the money from that (unless she has spent it all on her back).

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serenity_now_2007

I guess I just don't understand the idea that one's children ---at any age--- shouldn't be "entitled" to at least a decent PORTION of their deceased parent's estate, but somehow the spouse (even if he/she is the very recent 2nd, 3rd, etc.) is "entitled" to ALL of it. Why does there seem to be this notion that you "take care of" a spouse totally and your offspring not at all? Why is the spouse, in essence, more of a "child" than one's own children?

As I wrote earlier, there are plenty of arguments that come up offering mitigating circumstances for the spouse, but there are also plenty for the kids. Yes, in the case of an elderly spouse who can no longer work or fully function on their own and who would have medical and other bills and no income, and an estate of too small an amount to cover everyone... then it's just decency to make sure this elderly spouse has the means to get their needs met before others inherit. That would be true in bio or step families, if everyone involved is a decent enough person to recognize this reality. It would also be true of a disabled child who was not able to support themselves.

But I guess what I'm seeing is the application of traditions that waaaaay pre-date the much more common rates of divorce, where the spouse was also the kids' bio-parent and as such was arguably more naturally inclined to in turn look after their kids' needs (there being no "outside rival" for consideration). It's just not smart to count on that in a remarriage/stepfamily situation and most lawyers will advise against that (unless they just want to sit back, watch the fur fly and collect the fees from a will contest). Even if you personally know and vow in your heart that you would pass on the estate to or otherwise look after your SK's (which many SP's don't even feel obliged to do), one can never predict the future. An SP would naturally be less likely to look after their deceased spouses' kids if they went on to marry again and have additional, biological children of their own, and would be naturally a lot more hair-trigger about whether the SK's "deserved" consideration anymore at the very first disagreement (which estate settlement breeds plenty of, even in bio families). Take a gander at some estate planning advice message boards and you'll see how often the SK's actually end up being taken care of by SP's left everything in the estate (it's not very often). It's not fair to the SK's to subject them to these risks, simply because you decided to get re-married and refused to approach the increased legal/financial complexities of a 2nd marriage with horse sense and both eyes open. As with so many of the realities of blended families, the kids didn't have a say in your remarriage, or in being born for that matter. The parent made both decisions (having kids and getting remarried) and needs to do right by both spouse and children.

Consider, too, these facts which are often the case about adult children of the deceased:

-It is common for a parent to pass away at approximately the time when the adult child is having kids of their own, which means they could certainly use extra financial help.

-It is common for a parent to pass away at approximately the time when the adult child is just beginning to build a career, the earnings from which he/she is trying to support said young children on. The surviving spouse most often does not have young children to provide for at this same time; but certainly if he/she did, the welfare of all the youngins' should be considered.

-An adult child with student loans (a likely scenario in a case where the non-custodial spouse was not willing to pitch in for college) will likely have much more to go on paying this debt, again at the same time they are trying to build careers and families as well as their own future nest egg (which would be a luxury for many struggling young average Joes). By this time, more often than not, the surviving spouse will likely have paid much more of their own debt off, often with help from their spouse, the child's parent.

And these facts of the 2nd spouse:

-They often work but don't contribute to household expenses; therefore, they should have plenty of money saved up from not paying bills, as well as a steady-paying job to continue earning income from until they retire and get income from that.

-The spouses often don't work. If it's because they're home raising their spouse's children, then as soon as those kids are "adults" (defined as "18" by many people's logic) and expected to go out and fully support themselves, then by this same logic the spouse should too. If the spouse doesn't work because they're just financially fortunate enough to be married to a spouse who can support this, then there should be enough in the estate to divide fairly amongst the spouse and children. (In either case, there is usually a regular "allowance" from the other spouse to fund thier daily expenses and often many luxuries the children don't receive.)

-The re-married spouse has often sold a house to move in with the other spouse; the profits from this, properly invested and managed, should provide a nice little nest egg, especially when the new spouse doesn't pay household expenses.

-The re-married spouse has their own parents they will inherit from, and this is more often sooner than the adult children will, due to age difference and average life spans.

-If the age difference between new spouse and adult children is not very big and the estate is set up for everything to go to spouse before going to kids, not only is it likely not to go to kids at all (due to young age/subsequent marriage and kids on part of surviving spouse) but if kids ever see anything it will be near the very end of their own lives. (Again going on average life-spans.)

-Overall, if it's going to be argued that adult children should have reached an age by now that they can be independent, then the spouse (presumably older by some years than the adult children and hopefully older than the magic number of 18) should be already better off financially according to this logic.

Point being not who "should get more", but that for every circumstance you can think of, there is probably a circumstance on the other side and so ultimately it kind of balances out. At least in most average situations, and if something changes to tip the scales of "need" considerably, wills can always be adjusted to reflect that.

Traditionally and most often the case, a child could reasonably expect some kind of or part of an inheritance from their parents, and same is true for a spouse. Call it a form of "recycling" of family resources, or simply protecting the needs, current and future, of those one loves and has a responsibility to look after.

It's just so much easier and more fair to divide things fairly from the outset rather than insisting it has to be all vs. nothing.

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imamommy

Serenity, what's your point?

In an intact marriage, when one partner dies, everything goes to the surviving spouse. When the surviving spouse dies, it goes to the heirs. (not necessarily the children if they want to leave it to friends or others) I had a relative that left everything to his best friend of 50 years.

There's a difference between deserving & being 'entitled'. Entitlement is that just because you are who you are, you should get something. Deserving is based upon many factors, such as behavior, relationship, etc.

You may not know the situation that I'm referring to: My dad married my step mom 20+ years ago. She has three birth children and my dad has four. They have none together as we were grown when they married. During the marriage, she worked but he also supported her through her Master's program. She became a Marriage & Family Therapist and opened her own private practice. The following year, ten years after they married, she suffered a brain aneurysm and has been vegetative since. She has been home for most of that time and her sons have NEVER come to see her. My dad continued to send gifts at Christmas but never got ONE call to see how their mother was (or my dad). Her daughter did care for her mom for part of the time because my dad moved out of his house and they had agreed that if she cared for her mom in the house until she died, the daughter would own the house. My dad paid for the mortgage and all household expenses for the almost two years she took care of her mom. He also paid a respite worker to come in a couple of days a week so his step daughter could go shopping or get out for the day. He gave her a car that was paid for & maintained insurance on it too. After almost two years, she quit. she told my dad she wanted out and he had to refinance the house and pay her a lump payment of $60,000.00 (in addition to the two years free living she already gotten) Then, a couple years later, she joined her brothers to sue my dad to make him account for their mom's separate assets & money. She went into court and said that while she cared for her mom, she was woefully underpaid. She hasn't seen her mom since. My dad has taken care of his wife for 8 years, which requires tube feedings every five or six hours. He changes her diapers and when she gets constipated from the medication, he has to 'take care of that'. He uses a hoist to give her a bath three times a week. He can't sleep sometimes because he worries that she's in pain or cold or hot or whatever, she can't talk so he doesn't know. My daughter and I (step relations) take care of her when my dad goes to work. He runs a company and that is the only reason he can afford her care. She gets a little disability and used up all her assets long ago. So, how could her kids feel entitled to ANYTHING? Even a portion?

There is NO ENTITLEMENT. There is an obligation to provide for your kids until they are legally adults, but nobody is entitled to anything. Not the children, not the first wife, not the second wife, not the third wife. (or husband). When my dad's time comes, I hope he does with his money what he wants to. Sure, I could use an inheritance, who couldn't? But I'm not ENTITLED to it. It's a gift.... They worked for it and they should leave it where they feel they want it to go. Period.

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Jonesy

Serenity, Maybe you can understand this scenario. My oldest son owes the state of Washington $85,000 for non payment of child support. The state would take most of his inheritance, if not all of it. He is homeless. The other son cussed me out the last time I spoke with him on the phone because I would not loan him any more money, he's almost 50 years. He called my Mom who is 95 years old, but we were lucky my sister was there and he cussed her out for not giving him my phone number. He is not down and out, his wife just doesn't like to pay bills. When I moved, I got an unlisted phone number, to stop those kinds of calls and because I am afraid of him. I had rather leave the money to my friends, they have been there for me when my husband was in a care home and when he died. I don't even know how to contact my boys, no one could notify them if I died.

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kkny

Ima,

I think her point is that in a typical marriage where man is older, and likely to die first, it is more likely (and not always, but more likely) that dad will die first and SM will not feel toward his children how he does. In an intact family this is less likely to happen. Just read the posts on this board, there are plenty of SMs who dont even like the skids. I am sorry about your and jonesys families, but there are lots of other family situations. And just becuase dad dies before SM doesnt mean he should get no say on where his money goes.

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imamommy

perhaps you MISS my point kkny...

I am talking about kids (or their parents on the kids' behalf) feeling they are ENTITLED to anything. If a dad is remarried and has good kids and good relationship with his kids and wants to leave them something, he should. My step mom didn't have a will so when she dies it all goes to my dad, if he is still alive. My dad has a will. My step mom really has nothing left for her vulture children to pick at. Even so, my dad had included my stepsister in his will because she had been helping with her mom & kept a relationship with him. (My dad took her entire family on a trip to Disneyland a few years ago where he paid for everything. He hasn't taken me to Disneyland since I was a kid, so he treated pretty well and they called each other dad and daughter, not STEP) so when she stabbed him in the back & sued him, he took her out of his will. If he dies first, he's provided for his wife to be cared for. He is her Conservator and the succeeding Conservator will handle the finances, it doesn't go to her kids. They would just as soon smother her with a pillow to get their greedy hands on whatever they can.

My point is that there is no entitlement but it's up to the parent to decide what they think is best. Leave it to your kids if you want, leave it to your spouse if you want, or leave it to your next door neighbor that has been there for you over the years. Sharing DNA or a legal relationship does not entitle you automatically. Under the laws, it may since that is how they decide it when there isn't a will, but if you want to have a say in where your hard earned money goes, you need to write a will.

and you have one child? She's 15 or 16? You won't know what kind of person she will be at 30, 40, or 50. Or if she marries someone you wouldn't want to get their hands on your money. My aunt used to boast about her child when he was in high school. Ten years later, she wouldn't come to Christmas dinner because she was ashamed that her precious perfect son was in prison. You never know what they will do with their lives and it's easy to judge when you see what you want to see.

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Jonesy

I know a lady who married a widower and before they married his own kids sued him, their Dad, for their mother's half of the estate. The judge gave them 10% of their mother's half and gave them a good talking to.

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kkny

"but if you want to have a say in where your hard earned money goes, you need to write a will"

and I would go on to say, dont count on anyone to do anything to do what you want after your gone. Like expecting a SM to take care of kids.

Agreed, right now Xs will is everything to DD. Technically he could leave amounts he has earned since divorce to GDGF (Golddiggergirlfriend), but I am not certain he is saving anything, and in any event, has not done so (and is contractually obligated to send me copies of wills).

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imamommy

In most cases, when dad dies, the kids are grown so there probably isn't any kids for SM to take care of. They usually have a mom to take care of them as well. Of course both parent's should leave something for the minor children's benefit.

and as for counting on anyone, it's a good thing my step mom married my dad. Obviously her kids couldn't be counted on to take care of her. If she outlives my dad, it will be me (her step daughter) taking care of her.

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kathline

In the state of louisiana, you are not allowed to NOT leave your estate to your children. Half goes to your spouse, the rest goes to your children. By law. There are ways around it, such as joint ownership, but there is no contest on whether or not the kids will inherit, regardless of their age, they do

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imamommy

I sure hope Jonesy doesn't live in Louisiana, if that's true. That may be how they divide it if there is no will, but what would be the point of a will if the state has that law? It doesn't make sense.

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finedreams

what???? so parents pretty much MUST leave half of everything to their kids even if kids are in jail, drug dealers, children molestors, or are simply out of parents life for good. what a screw up law.

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finedreams

"And these facts of the 2nd spouse:
-They often work but don't contribute to household expenses; therefore, they should have plenty of money saved up from not paying bills, as well as a steady-paying job to continue earning income from until they retire and get income from that. "

What kind of spouses do not contribute to the household expenses? You are saying they work. Where does their money go? And if they don't contribute, I hope it can be proven and they shouldn't inherit anything.

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theotherside

"What kind of spouses do not contribute to the household expenses?"

My exH, for instance. According to the financial report he filed, he contributes nothing to the mortgage or utilities. He does contribute to food, an amount that appears to about cover what he would eat. Where does his money go? A little goes to child support, some to credit card debt repayment, some to his medical expenses (not the children's), some to miscellaneous other stuff none of which sounded unreasonable, and a huge amount to his retirement fund.

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Jonesy

Half goes to the wife and half to his kids in the state of Kansas UNLESS you make plans to keep that from happening. My husband did that by putting my name on everything. I earned every dime of our estate. My husband was in debt when I married him, I was not and I had savings. I warned him I had no skills and would just make a minimum wage if I worked. I would have had to buy a car and clothes if I got a job. I told him I could make more by staying home and taking care of our money and I did. I am good with money, paid off his house, with every extra dollar that came our way, paid off the next house in 15 years instead of the 30 we signed for. I worked at Walmart for 3 years because I was bored and put every pay check on the mortgage. I took care of his rental property, did all the work in them except repairs which he did on the week ends.

A little humor here.....I told the manager of Walmart that I put every paycheck on the mortgage and he was shocked. He told me every woman he knew cashes their check and buys shoes. LOL

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imamommy

"And these facts of the 2nd spouse:

"-They often work but don't contribute to household expenses; therefore, they should have plenty of money saved up from not paying bills, as well as a steady-paying job to continue earning income from until they retire and get income from that."

My husband came into the marriage with a lot of debt from his past relationship. If we wanted to eat out, I usually paid. He moved in with me and I pay the household expenses. He is still paying on his debt. It may be years before he gets some of his debt paid off, especially since we've spent a significant amount on lawyers and now his daughter lives with us and we get no support from her mother. We make about the same but I came into the marriage with very little debt.

"-The spouses often don't work. If it's because they're home raising their spouse's children, then as soon as those kids are "adults" (defined as "18" by many people's logic) and expected to go out and fully support themselves, then by this same logic the spouse should too. If the spouse doesn't work because they're just financially fortunate enough to be married to a spouse who can support this, then there should be enough in the estate to divide fairly amongst the spouse and children. (In either case, there is usually a regular "allowance" from the other spouse to fund thier daily expenses and often many luxuries the children don't receive.)"

I not only work, I run my own company and in doing so, I have a flexible enough schedule to 'raise' my husbands child. I have already raised my children (alone) and because I am able to, I provide the luxuries for our family, such as vacations and extra curricular activities. and I expect children to be doing something with their life at 18 or they can leave. I feel that way about my own children, it is not limited to a step child. I'm not going to be supporting bums whether they are mine or someone else's.

"-The re-married spouse has often sold a house to move in with the other spouse; the profits from this, properly invested and managed, should provide a nice little nest egg, especially when the new spouse doesn't pay household expenses."

My husband moved in with me (in a rental) and he sold his house well before he met me. He lost money on it because of the market at the time. So, no nest egg here....

"-The re-married spouse has their own parents they will inherit from, and this is more often sooner than the adult children will, due to age difference and average life spans."

My husband and I are the same age... (so, no I'm not a younger woman) We both have parents and if we inherit anything (read my thoughts on entitlement) that's irrelevant to whether adult children should get anything.

"-If the age difference between new spouse and adult children is not very big and the estate is set up for everything to go to spouse before going to kids, not only is it likely not to go to kids at all (due to young age/subsequent marriage and kids on part of surviving spouse) but if kids ever see anything it will be near the very end of their own lives. (Again going on average life-spans.)"

My husband and I are the same age (I'm a few months older) and my children are closer in age to him than his child is to me.

"-Overall, if it's going to be argued that adult children should have reached an age by now that they can be independent, then the spouse (presumably older by some years than the adult children and hopefully older than the magic number of 18) should be already better off financially according to this logic."

Well DUH!!! I was independent when I met my husband. I was a single parent of three teenagers that owned my own business. He was independent when I met him, he's been employed by his company for over 20 years. He had more debt so I am better off financially than he is because I don't have much debt. Who knows which one of us will be better off financially when his child becomes an adult? He may be better of because while I pay the living expenses now, he is paying off his debt. Or I may be better off because he could lose his job or become disabled. You can't speculate on what will happen in the future, that's ridiculous.

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finedreams

don't people have joined accounts so bills are paid from that account? It's been awhile since i was married but that's how we did it. That's what my parents and my brother do in their families. do people keep separate accounts? otherwise how do they determine if one spouse pays for food and the other one for utilities? or some contribute to nothing? I don't get it.

tos, you X sounds absolutelly awful.

ima, I am not trying to say that you are not truthful, but something just doesn't add up. you had 3 kids by yourself since you were 17 with no child support and yet you have no debt, put yourself through college(with no loans to pay back???), had no debt, afforded lavish vacations and taking men out (huh?). Your DH has one young kid and he did have another partner to help and yet he has debt and is not financialy well off, couldn't even eat out. Actually his situaion sounds realistic but your is not. Something doesn't add up.

And I cannot get it how do people put themselves through college and take no loans. Unless their parents pay for school or unless you make a very very good money, you simply cannot afford it! And with kids? I mean com'n.

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serenity_now_2007

"What kind of spouses do not contribute to the household expenses? You are saying they work. Where does their money go?"

Great question. And GDGF/NB ("Gold Digger Girlfriend/ New Bride") still manages to have ten grand in credit card debt, which of course now that she's legally yoked to my Dad he will be paying off I'm sure. Or his estate will.

"And if they don't contribute, I hope it can be proven and they shouldn't inherit anything."

I guess the point we're all trying to make, but from different sides of the fence, is that nobody should feel "entitled" to an inheritance (especially ALL of it)just because they're related by blood or marriage, and especially if that person happens to be a sponging self-centered jerk. But even with that said, and even with GDGF/NB's greed and her years of petty mean-ness to *me*, I STILL FEEL it's only right that she, being important to *him*, get the 60% of my dad's estate that he's always wanted to give her and I'd never try to take that away from her by suing or anything else. The issue with her is that 60% isn't enough for her, and she can't extend the same understanding and preservation of family bonds (hell, she wasn't even legally "family" until 4 months ago) that I have tried to respect for her sake. And not only is she disregarding ME, but she is also disrespecting my Dad by all of her machinations and statements that what he wants to give her isn't ENOUGH. (It's plenty, believe me; she will live a very comfortable life on 60%.)

In my case, SHE is the one with the problem, who won't respect the wishes my dad has made clear for many years, and SHE who is feeling "entitled" to everything. Ima, in your case, the situation is obviously very different.

So, again, I think we're all reacting to the same sorts of things: our personal feelings about people who in our perception behave less-than-nobly and then feel they have a right to try and grab everything without consideration for other people.

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oh_my

Finedreams, I think many married people do keep separate accounts. My first husband and I had joint accounts, which he proceeded to empty while I was giving birth to our daughter. That was a hard lesson learned for me.

I know with all my heart that my current DH would never do such a thing, but in my opinion, he is not so great with money. We have NO joint accounts. He has a business checking and maybe a small savings (I'm not even sure). I have my own checking and several savings accounts. All of the bills are in my name, except for his car insurance, the cable, and our cellphones. He gives me whatever money he has each month, and I pay all the bills. We both contribute, but I guess by looking at our bank accounts it might seem that I pay for most.

As for being able to put yourself through college debt free, it can be done. Most people are not frugal enough to do it, but depending on the degree (obviously one would have loans for a med or law degree) and how you go about it, you can come out debt free. Example, my sister waited tables to pay for an Associate's degree, and then went out and got a job that paid for her Bachelor's. Now she's getting ready to take the CPA exam, and she has NO school-related debt.

Perhaps, IMA lived well below her means for a while, something I've noticed a lot of people have no idea how to do. Some people feel they need $40,000 a year in child support to raise children, an idea that's foreign to me. Some people lived in a modest home or apartment and buy their clothes second-hand.

If Ima got of school with a bunch of kids debt-free, more power to her. Maybe she could give us all some pointers because obviously she knows how to handle her finances.

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imamommy

"ima, I am not trying to say that you are not truthful, but something just doesn't add up. you had 3 kids by yourself since you were 17 with no child support and yet you have no debt, put yourself through college(with no loans to pay back???), had no debt, afforded lavish vacations and taking men out (huh?). Your DH has one young kid and he did have another partner to help and yet he has debt and is not financialy well off, couldn't even eat out. Actually his situaion sounds realistic but your is not. Something doesn't add up."

I didn't 'put myself through college', I attended college. I didn't obtain a degree but I was able to get grants as a single parent (I qualified for financial aid because I was low income) and I did I have a small student loan from the private business college I went to. I didn't accumulate any debt because I didn't have credit. I lived on CASH. My only 'debt' for many years was a car payment (on an older used car) because I couldn't get a credit card. When my kids were small, I struggled and had a few medical bills go to collections. It ruined my credit but I had the choice to pay medical bills or feed my kids. (at the time, I was living paycheck to paycheck) My kids came first. My credit suffered. and I didn't take 'lavish' vacations when the kids were growing up. I have taken a few inexpensive trips and one 'lavish' trip with my kids, and that was after I was doing much better financially (after I was self employed). I got my first credit card (secured) just before I resigned from my social services job. (I also cashed out my small retirement when I resigned and paid off all my collections and car) I now have a few cards with low limits that I don't use, except in emergencies. (and I am on a few of his cards now too) As my business grows, I am also helping him pay off his debt. I've gotten used to a life paying cash and it would be nice to not have any debt.

My husband on the other hand, has excellent credit. He's never had a late payment or collection. He has several high limit cards and his ex took advantage of that. (he also had another GF that he co-signed a vehicle for and she left him with it when they broke up, so he was stuck paying for his & hers so his credit wouldn't get ruined.) And his ex didn't work, she lived off her child support from her first husband, and no she didn't 'help' him. She dug his hole a little deeper. And no it's not everyone else's fault, he has responsibility for it too, but it doesn't change the fact that when we met, he had sold his house (with a loss) and was living paycheck to paycheck paying off his debt. I'm not sure he didn't have the money to eat out, but he didn't want to spend it eating out or on trips because he wants to get rid of his debt.

Because of my husband's excellent credit, my credit score has gone up. He's added me to a few accounts and we bought a new vehicle together. I benefit from his credit score and he benefits from my spendable income. It doesn't matter if it's believable, it's my life & sometimes I can't believe how different it is from when my mom told me I ruined my life by getting pregnant with my first son. It's not perfect but it's more than I hoped for.

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organic_maria

I think i've answered this on another post....my son or any other child i have will inherit the house we will soon purchase. ANy jewellary will go to my daughter if i have one and some of the jewellery has to go to my son's futur wife. My husband wants to split money and furniture equally among all the kids. No problem there but i have a separate fund now for my son and i told him that is his and his alone. As for land over seas, it will go to our kids. Cannot give it to the Stepkids. Laws in Greece made sure of that. Only kids with birth parents from greece can only prove and take land...its complicated but the laws state you have to register in the village and claim the land...etllc.etc... its a pain..but i'm, actually thinking of selling the land and just locking the money into my sons account cause dealing with the Government of Greece was hell!

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kkny

Organic, do I get this right, all of your money goes to your children, but husbands get split between all children. I can see how you are OK with that.

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imamommy

She has no obligation to leave anything to her husband's child. Apparently, all of the children are his. I see nothing wrong with her leaving hers to he own children. I'm sure that her step child should get his from his mom too. (It's not like she has kids that are not his and he's including them... at least that's not how I read it.)

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kkny

No one has any obligation -- I was just commenting on how sometimes SMs say everyone should share, be treated equally, and sometimes their kids should get two bites at the apple.

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theotherside

"ima, I am not trying to say that you are not truthful, but something just doesn't add up. you had 3 kids by yourself since you were 17 with no child support"

It would be physically impossible to raise 1-3 infant/preschool aged children on minimum wage jobs while paying for housing and daycare. Until she moved in with her ex-long-term boyfriend, I assume that either someone else provided child care, someone else provided housing, someone else helped her financially, or all three, unless the children spent time in foster care. Apparently the father of the oldest child had more than just standard visitation at some point, because Ima said he had been awarded a small amount of child support.

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imamommy

how is it getting two bites of the apple? Her kids get from their mom & dad. His kids get from dad and their mom, not SM. That would be three bites if my math is correct.

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imamommy

It helped that I only paid $130 for rent on my studio apartment. My utilities were $20 and my mom or sister watched my kids sometimes. None of my kids were ever in foster care and I used to walk from my apartment with my stroller to take the kids to my mom's. Then I walked to work. If I worked late, I would get a ride home from someone at work if I had a few bucks to give them for gas.

I also walked to doctor appointments and when I only had my son, I walked to the adult school until I graduated. I didn't get a car until after my youngest was born and my dad bought me a car when my grandfather died and left a little money for me.

My oldest son's father didn't even meet him until he was four. When my son got older & I was working in social services, his father (that didn't work at all) was given a small amount of support because I had middle income and he had none. I don't know how it's calculated but he was awarded a small amount. and I'm not sure what standard visitation is but my son was in year round school so he spent two months here, one month there, two months here, one month there, and so on. There was no summer vacation.

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mistihayes

I'll probably never have this problem. My husband was $30,000 in debt when I met him.
My mom on the other hand I feel sorry for. She's been married to her 2nd husband for 20 years. She's 60 & he's 80. She met him in AZ where she had a home & he was a snowbird. They married, she sold her home & everything in it & moved with him to his home in NE. He didn't want her working because it didn't suit his retirement. When he wanted to leave, he didn't want to work around her work schedule. He was a widower at the time w/ 4 adult children. When mom married him, he told her she could stay in the house until her death, upon that it goes to his children. She's not allowed to leave the home for longer than 3 months or it will be sold & divided 5 ways. That would equal about $15,000 each. Well Mom has now cared for him through many illnesses, given up being around her grandchildren/family because he's too sick to travel, & holds down a full-time job because she wants spending money & health insurance. The children are well off & live out of state, except one. I feel like Mom was a fool for ever agreeing to this. I think in a situation that your dealing with an elderly woman on a fixed income that would become homeless should she want to move close to her family, the kids should be grateful to their sm & let her sell the home. None of the children have lived in this home so there is no sentimental attachment to it. Mom sold her home for him. I love my mom's husband now but still kind of think it's stinky what he did. I think all the kids would pass on their $15,000 if they knew mom would be homeless. Accept one kid.

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theotherside

ima,
In my state, standard visitation is EOW, one evening a week, and two weeks in the summer. There is something in there about holidays as well.

mistihayes,

I hope your mother invested the money from the sale of her house and kept it separate from her husband's accounts. I think it was wrong of him to keep her from working, since had she been working for the last twenty years she could have had a nice retirement account by now. There are a lot of problems with marrying someone that much older. I have a former co-worker who in her sixties loved to travel all over the world, and had the money to do it, but her eighty-something husband was getting to old to enjoy it.

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kkny

Organic Maria, The kids, are they yours, his, etc? ours?

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serenity_now_2007

"She has no obligation to leave anything to her husband's child."

And thats *precisely why* if he wants ANYTHING to end up with his own child, he shouldnt count on her to ensure that happens. Which is what plenty of starry-eyed spouses unfortunately do and why plenty of kids get screwed. NOT usually their parents' intention, but if these parents don't want that to happen, they need to make sure it doesn't. It's a huge and all-too-common risk, and it's just not fair to gamble with something you want to be there for your children.

"(It's not like she has kids that are not his and he's including them... at least that's not how I read it.)"

But if the SP is young enough when the spouse dies (or, heck, even if he/she ISNT that young!) it is entirely possible that they will go on to remarry and either have new bio-kids of their own or become an SP to the new spouses kids. (An increasingly certain scenario after a certain age.) So, in essence, yeah, the "original" spousess money could very well end up (and often DOES end up) going to someone elses as-yet-unknown kids. Happens ALL THE TIME.

"Her kids get from their mom & dad. His kids get from dad and their mom, not SM."

But if a kid shouldnt ever feel "entitled" to inherit from parents (and especially from parents with 2nd spouses), the kid shouldnt really "count" on getting all this parental inheritance you assume theyre getting, should they?

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cawfecup

What's that saying...

oh yeah

Money is the root of all evil.

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serenity_now_2007

"Her kids get from their mom & dad. His kids get from dad and their mom, not SM."

But in a scenario where Dad leaves everything to SM (either in hopes she will subsequently leave some to SKs or not), and if we're going on this "SM has no obligation" to leave anything to SKs" logic, then the SK's *DON'T* inherit from Dad. They may inherit from Mom but they won't inherit from both.

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kkny

Yes Serenity,

And I see Cawfees logic, if SM comes out Ok, good for her, if Stepchildren dont get anything, then money is the root of all evil.

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cawfecup

I say spend it on vacations and "education" better than letting siblings fight over it.

My parents left us with debt ...there was no money to argue over...only what bills to pay.

My husbands parents are very well off ... he expects(has been told) he will receive money when they expire ... they are in their early 60's and could live another 20 years.

My Oldest SD18 just came back from visiting her GM in florida... the GM called to tell me she couldn't believe her GD would ask how much she was getting as an inheritence when the GM dies. GM pays all of SD's bills (cell phone, gas, and credit cards she keeps applying for credit cards and they give them to her)so SD doesn't feel the need to get a job ... In addition to paying all of SD's bills ... GM deposits anywhere from $50 to $500 a week into SD account so she can have spending money!!! No wonder she isn't in a rush to get a job or an education.

This is my opinion I could be totally wrong.

I believe with Maria ... its family land in greece and according to greek law only bio children are entitled to it. But she has children with hubby yours mine and ours situation. His children are "adults" and have no contact with dad. SM has money Hubby doesn't.... but I could totally be wrong.

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imamommy

I think kkny and serenity misunderstand the point I was trying to make. (maybe it was intentional so it would fit their agenda, but I'm going to clarify it here)

Maria, correct me if I am wrong, but this is how I interpret your situation.. and I am only referring to Maria's situation, not everyone else's.

Maria's husband came into the marriage with a child. He has had more children with Maria. Maria didn't have children, she only has children (or potential children) with her husband.

When he dies, he leaves 'his' divided among all of his children, including the ones he has with Maria.

When she dies, she leaves 'her' to the children she has with her husband.

Her husband's child, Maria's step child will still get from his mom, not Maria. Maria is not obligated to include her step child in her will.

Serenity,
You are trying to twist the words to fit your agenda and you can do that. I'm not saying that Maria's husband leaves everything to Maria and then her husband's first child gets nothing because Maria doesn't have an obligation to him. I'm saying, that it sounds like Maria has separate assets that she may have brought into the marriage and those things should go to her children. Her husband is already providing for his first child and the first child presumably has a mom as well.

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serenity_now_2007

Not trying to "twist words", just noticing irreconcilable logic and trying to quote verbatim whenever possible. Only because there can be discrepancies that you may not intend, and a lot of these sentiments happen to be common ones of SP's and can lead to conflict you may not anticipate. I'm not necessarily referring specifically to your or Organicmaria's situations but noticing broader trends in the overall sentiments about SK's and inheritance.

Look at the quotes below juxtaposed with no words of my own added, just compare these statements next to each other:

"There is NO ENTITLEMENT. There is an obligation to provide for your kids until they are legally adults, but nobody is entitled to anything. Not the children, not the first wife, not the second wife, not the third wife."

"In an intact marriage, when one partner dies, everything goes to the surviving spouse."

"I think that children don't have an 'entitlement' to an inheritance."

"I'm sure that her step child should get his from his mom too."

None of what I point out is meant to be an attack on anyone. You may take it that way if you're feeling defensive. But my personal intention is to point out what many people may be unintentionally overlooking: that in 2nd marriage situations the kids from the previous marriage run a very big risk of getting screwed. It happens ALL THE TIME. Sometimes it's because the second spouse is a scheming calculating gold digger, and soemtimes it happens because of a series of misunderstandings, omissions and misplaced trust or unforseen new families, etc. And too often we just see our own side of things and apply very black-or-white logic to it. For example, the many SP's who practically sing chorus-like "nobody should feel entitled to an inheritance." Nobody, really? These same SPs feel entitled and would be livid if their spouse didn't provide for them. Or, on the other side, the SK's of SP's who really did love and care for them and help raise them for many years but because SP isn't "my REAL mom" would see that person thrown on the street homeless and inheriting nothing. Both are unfair and self-serving views that do not evidence decency or consideration.

The point is to go into this situation with both eyes open and be aware of all sides of it before you have a family war years down the road. My hope is that the points I've made will be helpful to everyone; after all, even though I am an adult step-child and there's family conflict there, *I* do not advocate that the adult SP's should be entitled to nothing.

In the material and emotional interests of everyone in the family, I feel strongly that everyone should be provided for. So my particular "agenda" on this subject is fairness and responsibility towards all one has decided to bring into one's family, which includes both spouse and children. If you find that offensive, I apologize.

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quirk

No one is entitled to an "inheritance"-- (with the exception of minor and/or disabled children/dependents who would be unable to care for themselves).

However, there is a huge difference between a spouse and an adult child. A spouse is generally a partner... someone who is an equal in terms of contributing to the household, family, marriage... someone who has a part of earning money, deciding how money should be spent, saved, invested, within the marriage... "inheritance" imho is not a correct word for one spouse retaining the right to marital assets after the other spouse passes. Of course in a situation if people are married when they are 78 and pass when they are 79, that would not be the case, and of course just because no one is "entitled" to an inheritance doesn't mean parents shouldn't leave to their kids if they want, and yes having steps can complicate things, but "inherit" doesn't really mean the same thing when discussing adult kids as it does with spouses.

I have no right to tell my parents how to spend their money while they're alive, even if they are squandering "my inheritance" in ways I might not approve of, so why should I have a right to what they want to do with it when they die. On the other hand, if I were married, I would damn well have a right to have an equal say in how our money was spent, and my husband had better not be squandering our retirement on whatever without my knowledge or approval, and I would expect to not give up our retirement savings which we had planned and saved together if he died before me.

This doesn't mean couples shouldn't take whatever steps necessary to ensure that whatever they want to pass to their kids does, of course they should, I just don't think it makes sense to discuss "inheritance" (in general!!!--not talking anyone's specific case) as if it means the same things with regards to spouse and children.

(and I say this as an adult child and not a spouse, btw, so I'm not just presenting my own side of the issue)

And, then there is the other hand if there are minor children--- because they are unable to provide for themselves, their needs should always be addressed first. which comes back to the original question--- oh_my your husband probably needs two life insurance policies, one with you as beneficiary and one with either his kids or his ex-wife as beneficiary.

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organic_maria

kkny,

My husband and I have a son together and probably planning for a second. He has two kids from his previous marriage which he left behind everything for them. A brand new house, a new car and he made a deal with his exwife not to touch any of her RRSP or Shares from her company that way they go to their kids.
So no, i think its fair for my son to inherite the house that i will buy. Because my husband basically left with the shirt on his back after divorce. He earns a substantial amout less than his ex wife and still pay a mortgage amout of money for his kids which he has never faultered on. He lives paycheck to paycheck.
My job pays well and where he cannot spend on our son i do. I never got anything from my father after my mother died so i'm making damn sure i'm leaving something for my son. And no i have absolutely no obligation money wise , jewellary or any inheritance for his kids. I care for his kids but do not love them. They are great kids, well behaved for the most part. They will recieve money from their father and they will receive everything their father left behind from their mother.
Its fair. They have a house from their mothers side and my son will have the house i will buy. Notice i say i will buy? Because i will have the downpayment for the house and taxes as well.
My husband and I have spoken and never argued this fact. The house is our sons. The kids will recieve money, whatever he has to give them considering he bleeds for them now every month and for the next 18 years.
So whoever out there thinks its fair for his kids to get a house and earnings that i sweat for and they eat their cake too from the mothers side has lost their marbles! lol!!! hehheh...
My Stepkids do not live with me, i do not have a hand in raising them. They visit if we are lucky now once a month. Like i said before, and i will emphasis. i care for his kids very much and i have spent money too on them on many occasions.
If my SD needs help in school cause her father will be short on cash, i will help her...i'm not that low!!
So please kkny and any others, if you disapprove that is your opinion and your free to think what you want but i get along quite well with my stepkids and i always look at what is fair from my sons perspective and his futur. Their future has been taken care of by their parents. I'm doing the same as any parent will do for their child.

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kkny

Quirk, I guess my problem with this is that in the real world where husbands typically die first, it can easily result in SM having the right to decide who gets assets on the second to die. But I guess all the SMs here think that is fair. Another reason I am vigilant with X.

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quirk

well, that's sort of what i meant by "This doesn't mean couples shouldn't take whatever steps necessary to ensure that whatever they want to pass to their kids does, of course they should" there are i'm sure a multitude of ways people can handle whatever their personal situation is. in your case i understand you addressed in the divorce settlement daughter gets the house and possibly other inheritance, i assume this is regardless whether husband remarries, has more kids, etc--well that's one way, it makes sense to me but other people can handle it different without being wrong. but there is still a difference imo between marital assets and kids inheritance. or for that matter "marital assets" and "inheritance" by a just-got-married-last-month spouse.

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mom2emall

"Posted by kkny (My Page) on Wed, Feb 6, 08 at 13:31

Quirk, I guess my problem with this is that in the real world where husbands typically die first, it can easily result in SM having the right to decide who gets assets on the second to die. But I guess all the SMs here think that is fair. Another reason I am vigilant with X. "

This is such a case of golddigging!!!!! In your divorce I am sure you were awarded what a judge thought you and dd were entitled to (property, cs, maybe alimony, etc.)

So now what your exh does with his money is his business!!! If he married his gf and eventually dies before her the house, cars, bank account, etc is hers!!! He supports her now (you say she does not work), that is his choice. So I am sure that if he died he would want to continue supporting her with their assets, whether you like it or not!!!!!

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serenity_now_2007

"A spouse is generally a partner... someone who is an equal in terms of contributing to the household, family, marriage... someone who has a part of earning money, deciding how money should be spent, saved, invested, within the marriage..."

Maybe yes maybe no, as that is no more likely to ALWAYS be the case (and therefore justification for a spouse "deserving" an inheritance) than it is likely to ALWAYS be the case that the child *doesn't* contribute. For example, my Dad's GF has always worked, but she hasn't contributed to the bills (he told me once that he finally got around to asking her to chip in when heating costs began to spike a few years back but gave up hopes of collecting when he kept having to crawl to her to ask her for her crummy $100 check every month); she doesn't do any housework, doesn't "like" going to the grocery store or running errands and had no part of raising me or any other children. What money and time she has had in the years she has enjoyed with my Dad she has spent on her highly complex beauty rituals/products/salon trips, clothes, and various bric-a-brac. When I took unpaid FMLA leave from my job this past summer to be with my Dad and have quality time/be of help now that he has cancer, most of my days there were spent not enjoying one-on-one time with him swapping old stories etc., but cooking all the meals, doing the dishes from the meals, removing moldy old food from the kitchen, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning out his shed, doing yardwork, hooking up his cable and a dvd player so he had something to look at just laying there all day, changing GF's cats litterbox apparently insufficiently per her standards (not that SHE ever changed it, that's another one of HIS chores!)... all this because SHE felt I needed to "earn my keep" if I was going to be a "guest in her house".

YES.

So in my particular situation --which admittedly is somewhat unusual and/or extreme like Organicmaria's or Ima's--- no, I would not say that GF has been an "equal partner" entitled to the "marital assets" my dad earned by his own talents and sweat while she earned her own assets it only occured to her to spend on herself; and I certainly wouldn't say she should be "entitled" either.

BUT EVEN STILL. She is important to him, she's now his wife, and regardless of what *I* feel about her character or level of "contribution", I understand his responsibility to protect her interests and provide for her. That sense of honor, sharing and consideration of my welfare should go both ways but obviously I can't count on that.

But again, these are extremes.

As for the big distinction you're trying to make between "preserving marital assets" and "inheriting": I'm guessing you're referring to community property states and/or assets held in joint title, accounts etc. In any event, when a spouse dies, the property that is in that person's name alone will have to be "passed along" either way, however you want to phrase it. It's what *isn't* clearly/legally defined as "marital assets" that is at issue.

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kkny

Mom2emall,

As far as I can tell, X supports her now for services rendered.

He has made to plans to remarry, and our divorce decree stipulates that he has liability to provide certain things in his will and to sign prenup.

But you could be right, so I check online or so every now and then to make certain nothing has changed.

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kkny

ESTATE PLANNING..

Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business.

When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a wife with which to share his fortune.

One evening at an investment meeting, he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away. "I may look like just an ordinary man," he said to her, "but in just a few years, my father will die, and I'll inherit 20 million dollars."

Impressed, the woman obtained his business card and three days later, she became his stepmother.

Women are so much better at estate planning than men .

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kkny

Typo

X has made NO plans to remarry.

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mom_of_4

I guess I really just don't understand all of this nonesense.. I wasn't able to tell my parents what to do with their money when I was growing up and they didn't have to give me a dime back then ... So why would I assume that I should get anything when they die. I mean there is no great wealth there but I just don't understand what the big todo is. I mean make sure that your minor children are taken care of but above(which I hope everyone does anyways with at least a minimum life insurance policy) and beyond that it is an individual choice... and as far as I am concerned the wife/husband (you know the people making the decisions on how the money is spent/invested/property bought sold etc on a day to day basis) should continue to do so if their spouse dies. I don't think at any time it is appropriate for the house that the husband and wife is living in to be divided among the children upon husbands death... 1st 2nd or third wife if that is the case... that is her home... whether she sits around all day and does nothing or has a full time career and pays for most everything... it isn't anyone else's business except the husband and wife and I certainly don't think the wife (or husband if that is the case)(especially with senior citizens) should be thrown into the street.

I don't know about all of the people on this board but I was raised to stand on my own two feet and support myself... inheritance or no makes no difference in the world to me. And, I raise my children to be the same way. I can think of exactly three things that would make me sad not to keep after my parents (note the plural) die. A ring of my mothers that I have loved since I was a child, the picture of the my mom and dad from their early twenties that has been hanging in the living room since well birth and letters written back and forth between my mom and dad... and none of these things have the first thing to do with money!

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mom_of_4

I reread my message and realized it had an angry sound to it... I don't mean to offend anyone it is just that I truly do not understand bickering over inheritance and who deserves what... especially when I don't think anyone deserves anything they havent worked for themselves.

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kkny

Dear Mom of 4,

So if Dad marries younger woman, dies 2 year later, you would have SM get house?

I am glad you were raised to stand on your feet, as was I.

Dads GDGF was evidently raised to sleep with married men and get what she could

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mom2emall

mom of 4, I completely agree with what you said. Spouses should not have to give their kids money when they die, it should go to their spouse unless the person choses otherwise. And KKNY I have never heard of a divorce decree stating what a person "has" to put in their will and that a person "has" to get a pre-nump if they remarry! Sounds pretty complicated to me! But, I did like your joke......it shows the stupidity of some men and the greediness of some women! (as you noticed I said some...not all men/women are like that!)

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quirk

serenity

No. I am not trying to make a legal distinction. I am trying to make I guess a moral or maybe a practical distinction between a person who is an active partner in generating/saving/spending/planning for a couple's financial present and future together vs someone who inherits what another person (be it parent, grandparent, aunt, later-in-life spouse, whoever) has accumulated on their own. Misti's mom, for example, whose current financial situation is based upon decisions she and her husband made jointly over the past 20 years for the benefit of not just herself but also her husband and the marriage. Or my stepmom, for another example, who has been married to my dad for 25 years so far, they neither one particularly owned anything coming into the marriage, they have both worked, made sacrifices and compromises for each other's career choices, made joint decisions about where to work, how to live what to buy, what to save for the future, what got spent on us (his) kids and grandkids. Vs. say myself who has had zero input into their financial choices, nor have I sacrificed or compromised my own choices (financial or otherwise) in order to accomodate their needs or wants (technically this is not entirely true as I do spend money every year visiting my family which is not in general reciprocated, but this is insignificant in comparison to living a life together).

Married couples make sacrifices and compromises for each other's lives on a daily basis and some of them are whoppers (one partner gives up a huge promotion so the family doesn't have to move for example, or someone becomes a SAHM and gives up not just current income but job experience and therefore future earning potential as well). Grown children -- in general!!!! -- do not make the same kinds of day to day sacrifices in order to accommodate their parent's lives.

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mom_of_4

KKNY....yes, she should get the house. I have my own house... what would I want with the home she had with my father (even if it was for only two years). The only thing that I would get out of it is money ... for her it is her home. Granted it is the home that I grew up in but really... if I need my parents house as a momento of my childhood then I don't deserve it anyways... my memories are in the little things not a house. I really don't think either one of my parents would be to proud of me if I sold the house up from under my SM and forced her to live well wherever instead of the place she had with my father. It is HIS life and HIS choice not mine. Ditto with mom. I would appreciate it if she made sure I got the couple of family items that wouldnt mean anything to her anyways but other than that... so be it.

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kkny

Mom2emall,

Maybe my agreement is unusual. I let X stay in large house and no CS, in exchange for DD getting all extras paid for and generous inheritance. I guess some could it say it was pay me now or pay me later. He'ld certainly rather have a nice lifestyle now. And I would rather DD have more when she is older. I do not think it unheard of to guarantee childrens inheritance in agreements.

And as to him and GF making mutual sacrifices, he will be retired shortly and she quit her job.

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serenity_now_2007

"A spouse is generally a partner... someone who is an equal in terms of contributing to the household, family, marriage... someone who has a part of earning money, deciding how money should be spent, saved, invested, within the marriage..."

Maybe yes maybe no, as that is no more likely to ALWAYS be the case (and therefore justification for a spouse "deserving" an inheritance) than it is likely to ALWAYS be the case that the child *doesn't* contribute. For example, my Dad's GF has always worked, but she hasn't contributed to the bills (he told me once that he finally got around to asking her to chip in when heating costs began to spike a few years back but gave up hopes of collecting when he kept having to crawl to her to ask her for her crummy $100 check every month); she doesn't do any housework, doesn't "like" going to the grocery store or running errands and had no part of raising me or any other children. What money and time she has had in the years she has enjoyed with my Dad she has spent on her highly complex beauty rituals/products/salon trips, clothes, and various bric-a-brac. When I took unpaid FMLA leave from my job this past summer to be with my Dad and have quality time/be of help now that he has cancer, most of my days there were spent not enjoying one-on-one time with him swapping old stories etc., but cooking all the meals, doing the dishes from the meals, removing moldy old food from the kitchen, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning out his shed, doing yardwork, hooking up his cable and a dvd player so he had something to look at just laying there all day, changing GF's cats litterbox apparently insufficiently per her standards (not that SHE ever changed it, that's another one of HIS chores!)... all this because SHE felt I needed to "earn my keep" if I was going to be a "guest in her house".

YES.

So in my particular situation --which admittedly is somewhat unusual and/or extreme like Organicmaria's or Ima's--- no, I would not say that GF has been an "equal partner" entitled to the "marital assets" my dad earned by his own talents and sweat while she earned her own assets it only occured to her to spend on herself; and I certainly wouldn't say she should be "entitled" either.

BUT EVEN STILL. She is important to him, she's now his wife, and regardless of what *I* feel about her character or level of "contribution", I understand his responsibility to protect her interests and provide for her. That sense of honor, sharing and consideration of my welfare should go both ways but obviously I can't count on that.

But again, these are extremes.

As for the big distinction you're trying to make between "preserving marital assets" and "inheriting": I'm guessing you're referring to community property states and/or assets held in joint title, accounts etc. In any event, when a spouse dies, the property that is in that person's name alone will have to be "passed along" either way, however you want to phrase it. It's what *isn't* clearly/legally defined as "marital assets" that is at issue.

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serenity_now_2007

oops... I just hit "refresh" on the wrong page and what I wrote earlier just double-posted. I'll try not to do that again, its annoying...

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Jonesy

Isn't there a law stating that if one spouse dies the other gets to live there until he dies regardless of what the will says? I know of a case in Arkansas where a daughter was living with her mom and when the mom died she and a sister inherited the home together. The daughter living in the house could not be forced out because it has been her home.

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serenity_now_2007

"I wasn't able to tell my parents what to do with their money when I was growing up and they didn't have to give me a dime back then."

Who's telling their parents what to do with their money?

"I don't know about all of the people on this board but I was raised to stand on my own two feet and support myself... inheritance or no makes no difference in the world to me."

There are plenty of SP's who *don't* stand on their feet and support themselves. I salute you for doing so.

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organic_maria

I completely agree that the x's on either side, for money its their business completely. What my husband does with his money is his business. We do not have joint accounts and i dont want to. If he decides not to give any cash to our son and give it to me completely or share it all amongs everyone or anything...who cares! What he does is his business , his chose
My father remarried and sold the building he bought with my mom. Did i see a cent of it? NO! plus i didn't feel entitled to it either! IT was my fathers and mothers money and what they did to it and with it was their business!
He chose to sell and keep it for himself for old age...what else was he suppose to survive on???? But many people thought..oh the stepmom too it all..BS!!!
I am also a stepchild and what galls me is the fact that mothers here make their kids feel entitled. You know what? If my son turns out to be a turd when he gets older, do you think i'm leaving him with anything? NOPE...it will go to the nephews and neices who deserve it!
ITs my choice to do what i want, what i will with money i earn! period.
Not even your own kids have to get anything if you choose it. LEts be real here. Sounds to me there is alot of GOLDDIGGERS HERE! Humans like this just dont fly with me.
ANd yes, marital assets is seperate from all the kids and inheritance is what is passed to whom you choose to give it to. The law clearly states in quebec that if my husband would to pass, that it would be left to me. And yes, i am the adult and i will decide. I am his wife , present. liviing with him. Taking care of him soul and body. Money is an adult issue and kids are kids and follow rules. And accept adult decisions. If they dont like it....the door is open when they are old enough to pass.
On another note, would you think it fair that he split the house he had with his ex equally among all his kids...even our son now? That is not fair to the SKIds and its not right for the exwife to have to share anything for our new son.

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mom_of_4

It makes no difference ... I was making a point from the pov of a parent child relationship... I don't expect it from my parents and I am raising my children to not expect it from me. And, as I said.. I don't see what the big todo is since it isn't anyone else's money or property except the person that passed away and only they can decide no matter what... I mean really who cares who did what in the household or anything of the sort.. Why worry about it...
It wasn't yours to begin with so why worry if it may or may not be yours later... Do your own thing (not you specifically you in general)

Jonesy-- That might be only because they both inherited it... not just one otherwise I am pretty sure you can make the person leave.. if there is a fight you have to formally evict them.. which can take upwards of a year in some cases...

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kkny

Momof4, I just want to make certain I understand your POV. Dad marries SM, dies 2 years later, house shuold go to SM. Then upon her death, it will likely go to her kids. Or what if SM isnt much older than Skids?

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serenity_now_2007

In general I think leaving a house to be divided amongst two or more people is inviting trouble, hassle and unforseen expense... This is one of the two reasons why I told my dad (who was going to leave his house to his GF and me, ownership to be split 60/40) that GF should probably just qwn 100% of the house. Plenty of people told me I was stupid for saying that (and of course GF didn't argue or even ask one time "are you SURE?"). But the way I figured it, if she stayed living there, she'd be calling me up every week and sniffing around six ways to Sunday trying to figure how she could bill 40% of everything to me even though I would be living states away and if she wanted to sell that whole process would be a nightmare too. It could go either way, and I have no idea how long she'll stay in the house or not. But certainly I would never want to be in the position of being chained to what she'd find a way to turn into a money pit so that my only option would be to force a sale and feel guilty about the indignity of that. I'd never do that, and so that's mainly why I didn't want to be yoked into it with her. I have a conscience, and that's worth more to me than the potential profit I may have signed off (which would be a lot b/c the house is the biggest asset). Some things really are worth more than money.

So yeah, I think the joint ownership of a house thing just breeds problems all around. Better to do life estate for the spouse with right of survivorship for kids if you want the kids to have stake in the house. (That said, I DON'T agree with the type of trust (I forget the name) that leaves other assets to spouse as trustee until their death, b/c unlike a house, these other assets can disappear.)

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mom_of_4

see, that is the whole thing ... I don't really care what happens to it... if that is what my father chooses to do (because there are ways to make sure that the house goes to his kids AFTER she dies) then that is his decision. It is his house he has worked for so many years to pay off remodel fix maintain etc etc. It is not mine... never was. I lived there and loved it but not because of the house bc of my family and like I said it would be WAY more important to get the few momentos that mean something than a house. And who cares if SM is not quite older than me.. if she makes my dad happy and even if she is a b**** it is not my decision or even my right to think of wanting otherwise.

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imamommy

I'm not defensive or offended. I still don't think anyone is entitled, meaning they should not have an automatic right to inherit just because they are who they are. It should be based upon the the wishes of the person leaving it.

If your dad chooses to leave it to his wife, that's HIS choice. It's not up to me or even you, to say it's right or wrong. He's a grown man that can make up his own mind what he wants to do with his things or money. You can blame it on her being 'manipulative' or 'overbearing' or whatever, but that's as ridiculous as it is when theotherside blames her ex husband's wife for HIM not seeing his kids. Unless the person making those decisions is not of sound mind, it's their choice. They may be allowing themselves to be manipulated, but it's still THEIR choice. If they want their children to get something, then they should make sure it's in their will. I know that I'm an adult and I'm not going to allow my husband to 'make' me do anything I don't want to do. and if he allowed me to 'make' him do something he didn't want, then I would probably lose all respect for him as a man.

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kkny

Momof4 -- the reason I mention age, is that if Dads will is to SM for life, and then to child, if DAd and SM are close in age that may be equitable. Age puts that type of clause in different light.

Ima -- I dont understand, what do mean your husband making you do something. Are you saying that if he said, I want house to go to you and then split between chidlren on your death, that would be unacceptable?

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serenity_now_2007

I don't think anyone's arguing that its an individual's decision to leave stuff to who they wish. And the only things I've "told" my Dad about his will are:

-"Maybe GF should own 100% of your house" (thats me asking for LESS)
-"Dad whatever you want to do with your stuff is your business. But whatever that is, please make sure YOU'RE the one deciding and allocating and not somebody else."

In contrast, here's but a *partial* list of what not only his GF but his GF's *relatives* have felt "entitled" to "tell" my Dad about how to handle his estate:

-"You need to just trust me with all of it; I will handle it/allocate it"
-"You better not leave my daughter with an unpaid-off house, Boy"
-"I won't be able to get a good re-sale value on the house if we don't make certain repairs/additions, and all of these NEED to be done BEFORE you die:
-additional bathroom
-expanded/remodeled kitchen with all new appliances
-additional deck
-additional closet
-new roof
-interior/exterior paint job
etc., etc."

-"I think it's about time for me to get a brand new car. I mean, it HAS been three years... And I'd like to get it before you die."

-"I think we should get one of those big new plasma tv's... before you die, of course."

etc. etc.

So who's telling who what he should do with his estate? And perhaps the central, most important question of my situation and this thread:

why does SHE get to feel "entitled" to order him about per his estate specifically & run totally roughshod over everybody, and *I*, who just wants to see his dang wishes met (and ironclad, to be sure) am some kind of spoiled ingrate to feel "entitled" to any feelings about this whatsoever?

I ask yet again: why does a spouse get to be more of a CHILD than one's own son or daughter?

And be honest, SP's: either own up that YOU feel entitled or don't play the game of saying "Nobody's entitled...[except me]."

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imamommy

kkny, that's not what I meant. I mean that if my husband tells me to quit working because he doesn't like the hours I work, but I love my job.. then NO. We could discuss options and compromise but he isn't going to demand it of me. Or if he told me to choose between him or my kids, again discuss/compromise. That is why I don't buy theotherside's blaming of the step mom for him not seeing her kids. He's a grown up and makes up his own mind whether he wants to see his kids and whether he's going to let his wife dictate to him whether he can see his kids or not. If I told my husband that his daughter could not come here (unless there was a valid reason, which there are a few), then I guarantee you that he would not roll over and say okay, she won't come.

If he wants one of our assets left to his child upon my death, he should put it in his will. If he's discussed his wishes with me, of course I would consider that. and if he dies and his daughter has chosen a self destructive path and our hard earned assets would just go up her nose, then of course I wouldn't leave her anything. If she had a family and could use it, then I would. The same goes for my kids, I'm not going to enable them to do wrong. He would turn over in his grave to know he worked all his life and it ends up being wasted on a drug habit or ends up wasted. It would depend on the situation at the time. He doesn't have anything 'separate' except his life insurance policy. Everything he has, I'm helping pay for so it's 'ours'. He didn't bring it into the marriage, except a few things he makes payments on and nothing is near paid off.

and Serenity,

She isn't entitled. She may be treating him like she is but she's way off base. The only problem I have understanding is if she is treating him this way and demanding those things, why did he go ahead and make it legal? Why marry her if he is battling cancer and it sounds like she's just waiting for him to die. She sounds truly money grubbing and I understand how you feel wanting to protect him, but you have to consider that even knowing what she and her family have said, he still married her. If I had a boyfriend that was planning everything out like I was already dead, I don't think I'd take that walk down the aisle with him. I'm not getting that. Is he mentally sound?

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kkny

Ima, I am going to guess you are younger than TOS and me. I think when some people age, like TOSs husband and maybe Serentiy's Dad, they get scared. Not necessarily scared of death, but scared of being able to take care of themselves. Even if their spouse or GF is not doing a great job, they think it is their best alternative. Fear is a difficult thing to deal with.

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theotherside

kkny,

You are right, kkny. Fear has a lot to do with it.

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imamommy

I understand fear. Being 21 and living in poverty with three small children and no car. I get what it's like to be afraid, and that's why a lot of people in that position end up with abusive men. It's not exactly the same but the fear of being alone and needing someone are quite similar.

Saying that being scared that he won't be able to take care of himself is a reason to get together with someone that from the sound of it, isn't offering to take care of him, she's planning her life after he's dead. I would be more afraid that she'd get tired of waiting for me to die and take care if it herself. I still don't understand your logic. Are you telling me that once you get old, you drop your standards and self respect? You would choose to be with a terrible person out of fear? I'm 39 and I spent 36 years of my life unmarried and I'd spend the next 36 unmarried if it meant that the only other alternative is to be with someone that is just waiting for me to die. No Thank You. And another hole in your theory is that Serenity herself sounds like she would take care of him herself. Why would he need to marry someone like his wife? The two of you are going to have to come up with something better than fear.

(and my dad is 63 and has been caring for his wife 10 years. He says when she dies, he won't ever get married again. He's had bouts of depression as a caregiver and in losing his wife although she's not really dead physically, he did lose his wife ten years ago but can't really mourn her while she's alive. I'm sure he has some fears too but he isn't having an affair, leaving his wife or planning to ever get married again.)

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finedreams

I guess if I would get old and terminally ill and scared of not being able to take care of myself, I would be happy to marry someone even if it is a for a short period of time, but at least i would have somebody in the house if I fall off the bed and can't get up. I often think what's going to happen to me if I get seriously ill and if I get old and am single and alone in the house.... Pretty scary.

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theotherside

Yes, I think a lot of older people (and often younger ones as well) choose to be with someone who is abusive or cruel (though not someone who is homicidal) just to avoid being alone or being penniless.

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kkny

Ima,

Serenetity said she took time off of work. I assume she cant do that indefinitely. More importantly, her Dad might.

I am sorry you cant understand fear, especially in older people.

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wrychoice1

I've read all the posts on this thread and one thought keeps popping into my head....

Serenity, your screen name seems poignant to me because in your posts you seem anything but...

It must be painful for you to have to watch your father die, to be losing him (again?). I hope, as you go through this with him and after, you are able to find comfort and support in the love and concern of your family and friends.

You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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finedreams

I bet you (hypothetical "you")when you are terminally ill and are dying painful death, you do lower your standards. And you (now specific "you") are healthy in your 30s, you really cannot know what would you be thinking and doing 50 years down the road or G_d forbid terminally ill at any age. I suspect your perception of many things would change dramatically. People in this situation are known to do way worse things than marrying someone to take care of them.

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imamommy

I'm not terminally ill but nearly died a few years ago. I had to have several surgeries in succession and I was unable to work for over a year (I was on disability & my oldest son got a paper route to help buy groceries) and I was single at the time. It never occurred to me that I should hook up with someone that didn't really love me or care about me. I am healthier now but I may never fully recover and no, I didn't lower my standards. As I have gotten older, I have been through a lot on my own and I have actually raised my standards. I would rather go the rest of my life alone than be with someone that I didn't feel would love me enough to take care of me when I'm sick, and that would be talking about what I need to get done before I die to make his life easier. Perhaps I feel that way because I have had my share of jerks that left me pregnant in my youth. Maybe I would feel differently if I had been married for decades and been dependent on a man most of my life so that I would be more afraid to be alone.

While my kids grew up, one of the values I've instilled in them is family comes first. If someone in the family is sick, we stick together and in the time I was ill, none of my kids ever complained because I couldn't get out of bed and they did take care of me as much as they could. I don't want to burden my children and I would do everything in my power to not be a burden to them, but that would not include marrying someone that is only there to take what they can get when I die.

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imamommy

and maybe it's watching my step mom linger in her vegetative state and seeing my dad remain devoted to caring for her that made me want the same thing in my marriage. That was something I discussed with my husband well before we became engaged.

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finedreams

I have much more realistic view on life that I do not know what would I do when I will turn, let's say, 80. I simply do not know. And I cannot predict what would my kid do in temrs of taking care of me. I simply cannot predict for 100%. All of us have share of being ill in life but it doesn't mean I know how different illness effects different people at different age. You can say you know how you will behave in each and every situation in your future, but let's face it: you do not know. I don't know how it feels when man takes care of you for decades. It probably does feel kind of nice. I spent my adult life single with the exception of less than 5 years in my 20s. Didn't marry, didn't cohabitate, and most of the time didn't even date. Maybe when i get old and sick i will want somebody finally to take care of me. And if it means marrying someone maybe I will. maybe exactly because I didn't have anyone to take care of me I will want that when I am old and sick. I simply do not know.

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serenity_now_2007

Morning, everyone (at least morning in my time zone... I guess by now you might have noticed I do most of my computing during the day) Anyway, just want to take a moment to respond to some of the questions/thoughts/concerns regarding my situation... just to tie that up b/c I feel a little bad, like I've hijacked this thread with my problems (just that they're happening *right now*, which makes them prominent, not to mention surreal, but it's actually really helping me to sort a lot of this stuff out through this forum.)

So, yes, basically I do think my Dad is staying with GF primarily out of fear (of not been taken care of physically now that he is dying), but there are other factors. He's got a dazzling personality and people love him, but through the years his circle has shrunk considerably of friends and even family, and he's become a big "homebody" (he's been able to work out of his house for many years). Of course it would be easy for me to blame GF for his increased isolation, but I'm not so sure what the reason is, maybe just age/ being more "settled". Another reason is the length of time they've been together: 18 years. I know we all want to think that quantity of years together always equals quality but it doesn't always. I do think there is some measure of love between Dad & GF, never would doubt that, but people don't always "love" in the most healthy ways. Sometimes quantity of years together can mean just enough moments of quality peppered into a long slow degradation of self-esteem, among any number of other problems, and I guess this can be why some people divorce. (I definitely think the bad relationship b/n GF and I has been something that has taken the passage of many years to fester, b/c I feel that every year that she didn't have a wedding ring she somehow blamed me for ---prob b/c Dad wanted a prenup before marrying her to look after my interests and she wouldn't sign--- and this is why it got more acrimonious with the passage of time.) I do know that my Dad confided in me about 3-4 yrs ago that he was thinking of leaving her, but of course didn't. And now that he's sick, they're not divorcing but got married instead! (A whole other subject, but I think the reason for that is pretty much just an extension of all these other reasons I'm giving for this situation.)

Another reason is pride. Especially MALE pride. My dad was always a good-looking, artistic, talented, independently well-off guy with a gift for gab and twinkling ice blue eyes, and a Big Fish of sorts in a very small town. I don't think his ego has taken kindly to the idea that a woman he thought loved him just for him (his brain, looks, charm, talent) may have additional motives and character traits beyond the rosy ones. And once he was over a certain age and finally started to LOOK his age, I think he became afraid he wouldn't find someone else. So there's a certain amount of denial in all this too. The pride thing also relates to why he doesn't want me up there taking care of him. Many times I have offered to quit my job and move there to do that, and there is always some reason or excuse that puts this date off a few more months (and to be fair I've had one major thing going on that's kept me here and extended that a couple months too). He also knows that there is tension between GF and I, even though I have tried very hard to only show it/speak of it if absolutely pushed to the wall or questioned directly about it in a must-answer-now way. He doesn't want to deal with the stress but I know he also wants to see me too. I have said I will do my best to zip my lips and get along (like I did for most of my life), for the sake of all of us getting to be with him at this time, but I think GF has made certain ultimatums. For example, my first post on this forum was about how I was not allowed up there for Christmas, which I have been going to since I was a little girl (I'm going to be 32 next month).

Finally, I think he is a bit scared/embarassed/guilty at the idea of me having to drop my life and come up there to take care of him, maybe also he doesn't want me to "have to see too much" (even though I have never been afraid of this aspect, he maybe doesn't know that for sure or doesn't want to BE SEEN by me at his worst). So there are a lot of reasons this situation is happening as it is, and given all of the above I'm actually not all that shocked that this is how it is. It hurts me terribly, the worst parts, but I am especially concerned about how it's affecting him. Thus far he doesn't want the situation changed, and there's only so much I can do about that. I can only keep my offers open.

And wrychoice, you're right: I'm not always so "serene" lately but trying my best. My screen name is taken from a Seinfeld episode where George's parents read some pop-psych book on inner peace and keeping calm under stress, and the "mantra" they're told to use is "Serenity Now", to be said very calmly when you feel you're getting upset. The other characters pick up on it and try it too, at the moments of stress/upset that come up. And of course by the end of the episode everyone is screaming shrilly at the top of their lungs: "SERENITY NOW!!! SERENITY NOW!!!" It's hilarious, and I feel it kinda sums up my attitude to things: trying my best to be calm, mature, reasonable, etc. but sometimes you just have to yell.

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serenity_now_2007

one more bit of clarification:

Ima asks "if she is treating him this way and demanding those things, why did he go ahead and make it legal?"

She was always icy to me (and plenty of times to him), but her control tactics were limited to verbal or passive-aggressive ones of the kind that people do who feel they have no power but still just have to jab you.

She has become much more direct in her demands since she has convinced my Dad to marry her, because now she feels she has full license, and it's what she's been waiting 18 years for that she feels was so unfairly denied her, and it would be next to impossible to undo it, so she's just demanding whatever she sees fit.

As for how she was able to finally get him to marry her, it was via a combo of trying to appeal (along with several of her family members who call him like every day) to the official Presbyterian affiliation of his birth (he nor his family were ever very religious) b/c at this time of dying he should "not live in sin anymore"; appealing to "estate tax" considerations; pushing the subject every day since literally the first hour he was diagnosed (that's the first thing she thought of); finally, arguing for it for insurance purposes. I think he was just too tired of all of it by October and said "f*** it". I know that sounds kind of mean, but I think it's true.

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quirk

serenity-- your stepmother is bullying a dying man who she is supposed to love and care for. Of course that is unacceptable. (a horrendous understatement only because I don't have the words for accuracy)

And it is unacceptable completely regardless of anyone's opinions on inheritiance. No, I do not expect nor particularly care if either of my parents leave me anything, and I do not feel that I am "entitled" to anything. And, yes, I would be infuriated if one of them were dying and were being bullied for an inheritance (or anything else) by anyone-- spouse, boyfriend, one of my brothers, etc...

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imamommy

Serenity, I'm sorry your dad is in that situation. It must be very frustrating to see someone treat your father that way and not be able to do anything about it. I remember telling you when you first posted about Christmas, that I would do whatever I could to see him. As difficult and evil as she is, if it were my father, I would not let anyone keep me from seeing my dying father. Fortunately, I haven't lost a parent yet and even though my father is well off, if he were to go first, everything he has would first be used to care for my stepmother until her death. Everything he has could be used up to care for someone that should have died years ago. I care very much for her but she shouldn't be alive, she has no quality of life and suffers daily. She has survived physically and may outlive him and everything he has worked for all his life would go to care for her and his children could end up with his debt. (He has a will and I don't know what it says, so I'm only speculating here) but my point is, that when he goes, whatever happens to his money or possessions, what is going to mean the most to me is the time we spend together now. That is easier for me to say than you since I don't have anyone standing in the way of me seeing him and spending time with him, but that is where my focus is. I plan our family gatherings and make sure all my siblings are there with all the grandkids (grown) and now he has a great grandson and another on the way. As for your father's money grubbing new wife, what comes around, goes around. She isn't entitled and the time for her will come when she will need someone and people that treat others the way she does, won't have someone to care about them. I know that isn't much comfort for you, but it's all I can say. You could get a lawyer involved and challenge his mental capacity, but he's done what he's done and it's very sad for you and him.

and finedreams,
In a way, you make my point that you don't know what the future will bring. I never thought about death until I was in the hospital for two weeks, fighting for my life. I came out of it with a new perspective on everything. It's one of the reasons I quit (ok, resigned) from my job in social services. It's one of the reasons I chose to go on a couple of cruises, instead of socking away my money for retirement. It's the reasons I decided to do a lot of things. I'm terrified of heights but I went Parasailing in Mexico, which was a big deal to me. I've chosen to live life and love life and spend every minute I can with my family.

Over the years, when someone died young (I mean anyone under the age that I am at the time), it made me think about life and how lucky I am to have my health. It wasn't until I was there fighting (and pleading, begging & bargaining with God) to stay alive, that it became personal for me that I truly appreciated life.

I don't know if I will feel this way in twenty years or forty. I don't know if I will still be here in five. When I was dating, I raised the bar on my standards. When I was young, I only wanted someone to love me. Perhaps I was desperate to be loved and I didn't know what it meant. I didn't think about things like 'is he responsible?' or 'will he be a good provider?' or even 'does he have good character?' And after ending up with the jerks that left me with children they didn't see or support, I thought that if I were going to find someone, I wanted a guy that worked, and would treat me & my kids well. I ended up with my exBF that worked and treated us well, but didn't have great character (and I'm not sure he truly loved me) So, after everything I have been through, when I started dating, I decided what my automatic deal breakers were: 1. If there was a lot of drama with his ex. (and I didn't date anyone that ever said a bad thing about his ex, as that is a huge red flag) 2. I paid attention to his character & how he treated others. If he was rude to other people, it reflected poorly on him (especially if he would encourage me to be rude). 3. He had to be a good father. If he didn't see his kids or support them (or if he complained about the support amount or how his ex spent it) that was another red flag. and 4. He had to be responsible. At the time I started dating, I was self employed and doing good financially. I didn't need financial help, but if the guy was being served with lawsuits or avoiding phone calls, that told me he wasn't responsible in paying his bills. I dated one guy that seemed very nice. On our second or third date, he told me he didn't believe in credit cards or bank accounts. I thought it was a little strange but okay. On our next date, he told me that he owed over 10k in back child support. At the end of the date, I guess he was trying to compliment me and said I was 'the total package' and he couldn't wait to see me again. I lost his number that night.

I also don't know if I would lower my standards when I'm old and if anything ever happened to my husband. But that has been my point all along. That life happens, things change and what you think and feel today, may be different in ten or twenty years. I'm sure that if my step mom had written a will before she got sick, she would have insisted on making sure her kids got everything of hers. She likely would not have wanted anything of hers to go to my father's children. I understand that as a mother, but it's been my father's children that have taken care of her and her children that she loved so dearly that have abandoned her. Nobody knows for sure if their spouse or children (or step children) will be there in their time of need. But to say you would lower your standards in finding a partner when you are old or sick so they will take care of you it simply ridiculous. First, I wouldn't wait until I'm old or sick to find someone. And if you lower your standards, I hardly think they are going to be the type of person to take care of you. They are more likely to do what Serenity's father's wife is doing. Would you really want to do that to your children?

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finedreams

they've been together for 18 years???? buying a dying man is unacceptable, I agree. But it is not like she just met him and learned that he is dying and want to grab what she can. they lived together for 18 years and I think that maybe she does feel entitled to be married and maybe to get something after he dies. and maybe she did look at her hand with no wedding ring every year and i bet you it hurt her. and maybe she does feel that finally she has it even if for a short time. I understand how you feel and don't excuse her but honestly learning that he lived with her for that long and never married her makes me look at her situaion from a different point of view...

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serenity_now_2007

Yes, I'm sure it did hurt her that she wasn't married year after year, and certainly living with him that long she would naturally feel that some things ought to go to her (which is why I'd never challenge my Dad wanting to give her 60% of everything he has and one of the reasons why I said she should keep 100% of the house). Realizing these things is really the only way I've been able to wrap my brain about what her issue is, by trying to see that situation from her perspective. I can see where year after year unmarried she would feel sad, maybe embarassed too, maybe inadequate (and here I come a few times a year, the offspring of the woman my Dad DID marry, and she has to look me in the face)... and unfortunately I think that she over-personalized it when he wanted a prenup, focused too much on thinking it was only because he didn't trust her or love her enough. (And who knows if maybe the highly untrustworthy, unloving behavior she has come to display would have been nipped in the bud before it had a chance to start growing like kudzu?)

I realize that the topic of prenups is always going to be a hotly debated one and I see valid points on both sides of it. Obviously, as a daughter from a previous marriage, I don't think I need to point out that I have my opinion on prenups (that in 2nd marriages they shouldn't be taken as a personal insult b/c spouse has responsibility to his/her children). But I know not everyone sees it this way, even in 2nd marriages.

In any case, I think it was unfortunate and unfair for my stepmother to hold my *Dad's* wishes for a prenup against ME (unless perhaps he told her I asked him to get one, which of course I didn't... never even thought or knew much about any of this estate stuff until I realized last year I better start learning, and certainly had no concept of such at age 13 when they moved in together, or even 18, 21, 25, all through the years). And ultimately the responsibility for why she didn't have a ring on all those years falls on her shoulders. My dad told her the deal straight up: "I have a kid, it's not just all about you. I welcome you to come and share my life but you don't get automatically get everything I have. I've been divorced once already, I have a kid, and I have my own business and make way more money than you. I am not going to risk losing that through death or divorce or my kid losing out if it doesn't work out with us." And she wasn't willing to understand that, the concept of other people involved, extenuating circumstances, sharing... not just disregarding ME as an important factor but also refusing to acknowledge that HE didn't want to risk losing what he built from the ground up. I think she thought if she hung around long enough, maybe he'd forget his sense of responsibility to me or decide pleasing her was more important. She waited a long time to get her wish, but she got it.

So yes, I have a healthy amount of consideration for her needs, accustomed lifestyle, and attachment to her home. I also have some empathy for the years of wishing she was married and some of the emotions involved. But ultimately I refuse to be blamed or pay the price* for a decision she made based upon her own selfishness. Especially since, as I just wrote, she now has what she wanted all along.

[*I may very well 'pay' a material price b/c of all this bundle of BS and I've made my peace with that... but I won't pay the price of feeling like it was somehow my fault, because it wasn't.]

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finedreams

if a man wouldn't marry me for 18 years and yet wouldn't leave me, I think i maybe would insist that he at least marries me before he dies so I am at least a widow not a nobody/GF. Maybe she could find and marry someone else instead if he wouldn't stay with her giving her hope. Even if he didn't promise anything, when man stays with a woman for that long he leads her on and gives her false hope. I know your father is ill and it all doesn't matter anymore but it sure matters to her. As about unloving behavior..if somebody would lead me on like that i would probably express unloving behavior and maybe would demand more. I don't know.

serenity you mentioned that she wasn't a family until 4 montsh ago. how is that her fault? he didn't marry her so she wasn't a family, i suspect she wanted to be.

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serenity_now_2007

Fine, you make valid points, certainly about the way she might have felt about the relationship between she and my Dad. I've tried to understand it, I really have. I guess I can only hope that now that she is married maybe sooner or later she will start being a nicer person to me (she did this acting-nice thing for several months BEFORE the wedding date but afterwards started upping the demands and the no-Christmas thing, etc.); now that she's "officially" family maybe she and I both can treat each other more as such. I'm not gonna hold my breath, but I'll keep an open mind.

Meanwhile, I really do feel bad about hijacking this thread with my problems. If the rest of you guys want to continue talking about estate issues in general, I promise I'll stay stay out of the rest of this thread :)

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finedreams

with no-Christmas...maybe when she klnows he is dying she wants him all to herself?

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theotherside

Am I understanding correctly that the only reason your father wouldn't marry her was that she was unwilling to sign a prenup? Why didn't she just sign it, if she wanted to be married so badly?

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finedreams

I find it rather sad that the last years, days or months this man has to watch his daughter arguing with his wife over material possessions. Who cares why he didn't marry her 18 years ago. Nobody knows the real reason. Men are often afraid to make a commitment again so they come up with whatever reason to prevent that from happening.

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june0000

Serenity,

Do you think a motivating factor for your father to get married at this point may have been to entitle her to social security benefits as his spouse and/or a pension?

Just a thought, but I've seen people marry for such reasons.

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theotherside

A lot of older people who have been married before decide NOT to marry for precisely that reason - they would lose their social security benefits based on the income of the previous spouse, as well as numerous others benefits that they might have as a lower income single person.

I didn't get the impression that serenity was arguing with her father's wife over possessions - but rather that the wife was making unreasonable demands such as major home improvements that "had" to be made before his death - something he shouldn't have to be worrying about when he is sick.

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june0000

I didn't say or infer that Serenity is arguing with his father's wife over possssions. Who said that?

I said her father may have married her to entitle her to a benefit, perhaps social security or perhaps a pension. It can work both ways on social security.

My aunt married her long-time boyfriend before she died to entitle him to spouse life coverage under her retiree life plan with her former employer. It happens.

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theotherside

Finedreams said that they were arguing over material possessions.

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serenity_now_2007

My Dad and Gf getting married isn't, in itself, something I've ever had a problem with... I think it's something she may have THOUGHT I had a problem with and therefore blamed me for. Me being a much easier and more convenient target for her anger than my Dad since she only saw me for a few weeks a year... but she also fought with him plenty about it too... just probably easier on her to imagine that I or my mother was the one pushing my Dad to get a prenup. As far as I know, my mother has stayed completely out of any such discussion and has truly hardly ever brought this woman up in conversation. I and everyone on both sides of my family met her with an open mind and heart when I was 13. I was probably the most excited of everyone that my Dad found love, and for several years I was the one to ask every once in a while "when are you two getting married?" I could never understand or had the adult experience to comprehend any of the possible reasons until about 8 yrs ago when my Dad mentioned the prenup impasse to me in private. To this day I feel there may be additional factors I wasn't made aware of, such as promises he may have made her or something she did (or he did) to break trust... But anyway, I don't have --and never did have-- any of my own objections to them getting married, even all through the years she got cattier and cattier with me. Even now that she's pulling all this blatant grabby money-grubbing junk, I know that just because she's a legal wife doesn't mean she's all-powerful or that I have to fear for my life or something. But she certainly is making every effort to attempt to use her new legal-wife status to make all manner of outrageous demands, which is upsetting. This situation is what it is, and I can't change it. I sent Christmas presents to my dad, her, and her sister and brother-in-law who were there instead of me and wrote the nicest most diplomatic notes I could write to the effect of saying "hey, we're officially family now and it'd be great to share some future holiday or occasion together". I feel better for having been a gracious adult (never heard thank you from them, but my Dad seemed extremely happy I did all that which was nice.)

The main thing with the marriage is I have never been able to help wondering why MY DAD was not willing to take that plunge with her until he just got to a point of heavily-doped up chemo-ridden-exhaustion. Overall, that's what saddens me the most.

As for she and I arguing over possessions, that's a point of low-ness that I'd rather not sink to. And I've avoided that, even as she walks around the house and literally points at stuff or says (within days of his first diagnosis) "I think I'll just keep all the Christmas stuff" or "what am I going to do without my closet?" (the "closet" that just so happens to be an 18th century Pennsylvania German kaas and one of the most expensive antiques in his estate, valued at approximately $200,000; btw there is plenty of other actual closet space in the house), and all her other forms of trying to take take take. Her main strategy is not to say to him directly: "60% of everything you have isn't enough for me" nor: "your daughter shouldn't get as much as you want to give her", b/c he'd probably kick her out on her a$$, cancer or not. Her strategy has been more to "re-interpret" his 60/40 ratio so that by the time of his actual will-reading, she's already spent or otherwise acquired most of the assets, with the *remainder* (if any) of whatever she hasn't grabbed to be divided 60/40. That's why all the expensive flip-that-house improvements, the new car, new tv etc. JUST HAS to be done while he's still alive, regardless of the disruption, noise, lack of privacy and dust and its effect on a lung cancer patient or what ***HE*** might need some extra funds for while he's alive. IT JUST HAS TO BE DONE. (And she can't even say the plasma tv is "for him" b/c when I was up there over the summer she practically got into a fistfight with me over getting him a stinking $20 RF adaptor so he could watch dvds of his choice.) For me, it's been a choice of either sinking to her level and fighting in the sludge with her about possessions or letting her run roughshod and do her thing but me at least keeping a shred of dignity and self-respect. As I've said about the house, I'd almost just rather let her take things (even really big-ticket material things) than have to ever deal with her crap again. (Which, perhaps, she's counting on... squeaky wheel gets the grease.) At least I still have a conscience and can go to sleep at night knowing that there's not a single thing I've wanted or attempted to take or do that my Dad hasn't made clear he wants me to have or do. At least I have extra room in my brain to think about other things in life besides the next way I'm going to try and finagle some other expensive thing out of him. What I'm practicing isn't so much forgiveness as a refusal to be chained to greed like she is. No, it isn't exactly easy to watch, and it doesn't mean I have to like it or fnd it acceptable.

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Jonesy

I learn something every day. I didn't know you could marry into a pension plan. When my husband signed me up for his pension plan it was for me only because I was his wife at the time he signed the papers. Out of curiosity I asked the rep, what happened to the pension if he divorced me and remarried, she said you will still get the pension on his death. Not only did I get the pension, I got his full pension. He gave up X amount of dollars to allow me to draw his pension if I out lived him.

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kkny

Jonesy, I think you have given out more bizarre legal advice.

"Out of curiosity I asked the rep, what happened to the pension if he divorced me and remarried, she said you will still get the pension on his death."

A divorced spouse can only receive benefits under an ERISA plan if there is a QDRO in place. ERISA covers most private sector plans. Dont know re public sector, but I suspect the same. I have a QDRO. And yes, most plans have a cost for survivor benefits.

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kkny

Jonesy -- possibly your plan DH was already retired and had already elected annuity. I think you have oversimplified pension rules. They are complex.

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june0000

Not all plans are subject to ERISA. The DOL website lists exempted plans:

"Federal, state, or local government employee plans, including plans of certain international organizations.
Certain church or church association plans.
Plans maintained solely to comply with state workers compensation, unemployment compensation or disability insurance laws.
Plans maintained outside the United States primarily for non-resident aliens.
Unfunded excess benefit plans -- plans maintained solely to provide benefits or contributions in excess of those allowable for tax-qualified plans.

The Labor Department's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration is the agency charged with enforcing the rules governing the conduct of plan managers, investment of plan money, reporting and disclosure of plan information, enforcement of the fiduciary provisions of the law, and workers benefit rights."

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imamommy

"Jonesy, I think you have given out more bizarre legal advice."

Simply telling her own experience is NOT giving legal advice. Nothing in her post could be construed as 'legal advice'.

In contrast, your message "A divorced spouse can only receive benefits under an ERISA plan if there is a QDRO in place." is a statement that could be construed as fact and sounds more like legal advice than just your opinion or experience.

There are laws against the unlawful practice of law and making a statement that sounds like you are stating it as a fact of law, is dangerous. What is true in one state may not be true in another. Interpreting law can be very tricky and you said yourself, pension rules are complex. If you add, 'in my opinion' or 'in my experience' to your statement, then it give the reader an indication that maybe that was true for you, instead of leading the reader to believe it is a fact.

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kkny

June -- I said ERISA covers most private sector plans. What part of that did you not understand??

Ima, when Jonesy said "you could..." then she is giving more than her own personal experience.

But I guess we only get picky with moms here, not SMs.

And Ima, fyi, I never heard of practicing law anonymousely on the intenet, but with your vast legal experience, pls chime in. And fyi, ERISA superceeds state law.

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cawfecup

It all looked like alphabet soup to me.

Ladies and gentlemen... this post will self destruct in 34 posts!!! let's put this one to rest.

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imamommy

" * Posted by jonesy (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 8, 08 at 11:28

I learn something every day. I didn't know you could marry into a pension plan. When my husband signed me up for his pension plan it was for me only because I was his wife at the time he signed the papers. Out of curiosity I asked the rep, what happened to the pension if he divorced me and remarried, she said you will still get the pension on his death. Not only did I get the pension, I got his full pension. He gave up X amount of dollars to allow me to draw his pension if I out lived him."

Where does she say "you could... "? She said, "I didn't know you could.... "

It still sounds like she's sharing her personal experience, not telling anyone what the rules are for anyone else. And you are the one that said she was giving legal advice and if she did so, it could be construed as 'practicing law'. Even though you think you are anonymous on the internet, there are ways to track everything you do on the computer. It may take time & money but a good investigator will find you. There is no anonymity...

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kkny

Ima -- when was the last time anyone was even pursued for practiging law for comments on a blog?

You just always have to be right -- I think your nuts -- now I am practicing medicine withut a license. Actually I am just glad I dont have to deal with you -- someone who always has to be right.

Heah I am sorry I say antyhig. All you SMs go on thinking you have a guaranteed rigth to DHs pension. HAHAHA

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june0000

KKNY,

There isn't anything about your statement that I misunderstood.

You indicated you assumed public sector plans were subject to ERISA.

Most public sector plans are NOT subject to ERISA.

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kkny

I said I suspect. But go ahead. Expect that if your marriage to DH doesnt last (which statistically speaking, most second marriages dont) you will get pension.

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imamommy

"You just always have to be right -- I think your nuts -- now I am practicing medicine withut a license."

wrong again, if you had said "you ARE nuts" that might be practicing medicine. But saying "I think... " is your opinion. and I don't always have to be right, just that you make it so darn easy.

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imamommy

and I haven't heard all the SM's say they have a guaranteed right to anyone's pension. I think the point somebody was making is that her aunt got married for benefits under a retiree plan. She didn't specify if it were public or private or conditions. Where did you get that SM's think they have a right to DH's pension?

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kkny

My point was meant to tell people to be careful. Pension rights are very difficult, and marriage followed by divorce may not do it.

And Ima, why dont you jump on June for her practicing law "Not all plans are subject to ERISA. " Oh, becuz she is a SM.

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Jonesy

Read my reply again. I was not giving out legal advice, I am just telling of my experience. I said "I learn something every day. I didn't know you could marry into a pension plan". I merely stated that my husband's employer's retirement would go to me at his death, even if he divorced me. That is a true statement. The spouse he had when he signed the papers at retirement would draw the pension.

I would never give out legal advice, I only tell about my experience in similar situations or tell someone to check for this or that in their state.

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Jonesy

What is ERISA???

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june0000

Jonesy,

It is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (1974). It is voluminous and complicated, but in short, provides protections and rights for employees and their covered dependents who are covered under employer plans that must comply with ERISA.

ERISA also established that plan administrators are fiduciaries and they can be held personally liable for errors they make in connection with their administration of an employee benefit plan.

COBRA extension rights under a group health plan are familiar to many. COBRA is a part of ERISA. If you work for an ERISA exempt employer, they are not required by ERISA law to provide covered employees and their covered dependents with COBRA extension privileges.

There is much, much more to ERISA, but hopefully that helps explain some of what it does.

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kkny

So Ima, when are you going to complain about June giving legal advice?

Oh I forgot your general rules.

1. You are always right.

2. SMs are always right.

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Jonesy

Thank you June. It tells me what I wanted to know.

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june0000

KKNY:

My clients actually pay me quite well to do what I do. And I am also quite comfortable that I've not stated anything that would be deemed inappropriate or incorrect, given my credentials.

Oh, but I forgot, BM's like you are superior and smarter than SM's.

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kkny

Same here -- I go out at 450/hr.

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imamommy

when June gives legal advice, I'll be sure to point it out. So far, all I see is that she's quoted a website that lists plans not subject to ERISA. and explaining what ERISA is does not constitute giving legal advice.

and my general rules:

1. common sense prevails

2. If you pick apart or twist words, I'll call you on it.

When you say something that makes sense, I'd agree with it. But when you twist things to make your point & fit your agenda then I can point out the flaw in your statements. You do it all the time to everyone else. You even make assumptions and sometimes are accusatory. The first time I didn't agree with you, you asked me if I was 'dads GF'? or TOW? If you want to be taken seriously, then why not start acting like a mature adult. asking me when am I going to jump all over June because you think she did it too, well when I read that, it reminded me of a young child whining 'why am I in trouble, she did it too?'. I honestly find it hard to believe you are a grown woman. (and a professional?)

Your agenda to prove that we are a bunch of lazy, gold digging, trophy wives that overstep our bounds with our step children and sunbathe all day, living off our DH's and deserve nothing because we are not the first wife, is getting old. Using two words from a paragraph and taking them out of context so you can make what you think is a valid point is something you and TOS are getting good at. Why is it when I use your own words to point out your flawed theory, then I'm 'picking' on you? You always want to make it about BM vs. SM. If I'm not mistaken, June is a BM. Or does it not count because she's also a SM? Guess what? If you got married and became a SM, you'd still be wrong if your comment lacks common sense or is wrong.

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kkny

Ima, I dont really care if you think I am practicing law without a license, which I am not. I tried to point out that pensions are tricky. You can think what you want.

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mom_of_4

I am pretty sure it self destructed in less time then that

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june0000

Ima,

Thank you for pointing out that I was providing info, not legal advice. I thought that was clear, but apparently not.

KKNY, if you actually rent yourself out for $450 per hour, I sure hope aren't charging your clients for ERISA advice.

And if you bill more than 10 hours per week to your clients, whatever it is that you do, they would probably be very interested to know that you've spend the better part of every workday, for over a year, on this forum and they've been ripped off.

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theotherside

"A divorced spouse can only receive benefits under an ERISA plan if there is a QDRO in place."

"If you work for an ERISA exempt employer, they are not required by ERISA law to provide covered employees and their covered dependents with COBRA extension privileges."

Both of these statements are merely informational. Neither one constitutes legal advice.

This is ridiculous argument. If that is legal advice, what about all the times people have made suggestions about what to do or say in court, or even about whether or not to take one's ex-spouse back to court? - and those were suggestions specific to individual cases as opposed to the general informational statements made by kkny and june.

People get accused of practicing law without a license when they do things like draw up legal documents and advise others on how to fill them out. That is a far different thing from casual postings on a message board.

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justnotmartha

Only on a message board can one debate employment law and the war between mothers in one sentence. As I'm shaking my head in wonder I'm wondering why this is still going. You all know that peace will not be reached before this expires, so lets call it good, seek counsel when it is needed and raise a glass to the fun that is the step family forum. Cheers!

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dotz_gw

Gotta get the last word here..June you are a comedic genius!!!! Cant stop laughing over your post and DH got a big bang out of it too...Keep it coming!!! LOLOLOLOL

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cindy_pond

KKNY...this is my first time on stepfamily forum so forgive me for my ignorance. Did you have a terrible stepmother experience? IF so, at what age did this happen to you? I am a stepmother who did everything but stand on my head to please My husbands children (who are now adults 24 and 27) After many years and many problems including stepchildren stealing from me and destroying family heirlooms etc... I finally realized that they didn't want another mom, they just wanted their dad. (both had a terrible relationship with their biological mother...daugher has since reconciled things) I also realized that their only loyalty is to their bilogical parents. I spoke to my stepdaughter about this saying that if she loved and respected her father, she should try and accept his choice of a wife. (which she does..finally) But that she doesn't have to like me. Just show him that you respect his choices by being civil..thats all I expected...civility. All I know is that its difficult for everyone especially children who have been torn from their moms and dads and until you let go and let people be who they are and understand where they are coming from, nothing will change. Not all stepmoms are goldiggers or devious evil creatures. I think all stepchildren no matter the age will do anything to have the attention of who they love the most..their parents... Most kids just wish that their mom and dad were together no matter how horrible the marriage was. As for inheritence issues. My husband has split everything equally between his children and myself and I have a will that provides for my own biological children as well. They are his children and like me with mine, he loves them, feels guilty, but is connected in a way that no husband or wife can be connected...the bond of a parent and child is unique and I think the strongest bond a person can have. If everyone could just stop for a minute and put themselves in the other persons shoes, it might be easier to understand what the other has gone through. It took me years to understand that this wasn't a competition for affection, and that I was the adult, and could let go and do the only thing that I have asked them to do, BE CIVIL. Given time, we all grow up.

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mom1sm2

"Do you think CP, mom, could ask that half the life insurance be hers to care for SD? He probably needs a larger life insurance policy or maybe one listing SD as beneficiary"

HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would fight tooth and nail. If, God forbid, my dh were to die he would leave me with a 1 million dollar policy and a seperate 100,000 policy. I am married to him. We have a family together, cars, house, and bills. I would need the money to pay the bills and get myself up on my feet as he is the primary bread winner. If his ex came after me for money I would have her torn up into little peices in court.

I do not think she would do this and i would, however, continue to work with her about child support until SS turned 18. I would pay for his college and I would on my own give him a large portion to have later in life. As long as the CS is paid she should need nothing beyond that and what he would have paid for if he were alive. I do not think that she would be entitled to 500 thousand dollars because she had one child with him ten years ago. I would always make sure he is taken care of, but if she came after me for money she would wish she had not. There is a big difference between giving money and someone demanding money from you.

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doodleboo

Adult Children should not be "intitled" to anything. If they are thriving with homes,jobs and families of their own they are set. The spouse however could be left behind with a huge house payment and medical bills depending on the cirumstances. He/She will also now be functioning on ONE income instead of the former two. If the widowed spouse was sharing a household with the deceased he/she should be allowed to keep as much as their old lifestyle as possible. They should not be expected to move out of the house or give up savings or whatever because their spouse dies. Chances are that there wouldn't be alot to split up anyway unless the deceased was wealthy.

I am soul benefactor of what very little Jonathan has. He knows in his heart of hearts that I would continue to do everything in my power for the girls if, God forbid, he ever died. He would never have me tossed in the street to divide the value of our home amongst children though....that's if we ever actually OWN a home:)

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doodleboo

"So if Dad marries younger woman, dies 2 year later, you would have SM get house?"

In simple terms....Yes. She should and would. If she was a member of a couple residing in that residence she should not be evicted just because her spouse died. Especially if the kids are grown with homes of their own. Putting someone in the streets when you already have a home IMHO is cruel and the EPITOME of gold digging.

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kkny

Doodle, you keep ignoring the other sides of this. If SM has her own kids, who do you think is going to inherit when she, and if she is the younger, is likely to be the second to die, dies? And it shouldnt be up to the SM -- as to Mom1SM2 -- there is a difference between kids having to grovel to SM or otherwise watch all, including what dad worked for go to SM kids. That decision should not be left up to SM.

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doodleboo

I still do not believe it is right to evict a person from their homes because of the death of a spouse. There is no way you can re-word that to sound good. It is what it is. You are booting a person out of their home just because their spouse died so the assets can be divided amongst children who presumably already have a home. That's terrible.

So if J was to die, Layla and I should have to move out of our home so the assets can be divided between all three kids? We should be evicted? I should be punished and forced to be homeles because my husband dies?

I'm sorry. I don't think so.

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mom1sm2

If SM is the wife than she gets the inheritance. If exwife had put in money towards any investments or insurance than I would assume that would have been handled during the divorce. It may suprise you to know, KKNY, that even though most of us are SMs our role in life is not singularly defined by this. We are actually wives and "real" mothers who want happy lives.

If a man marries a woman after his children are grown than I suppose it is up to him to decide who would get his inheritance. If my dad died today, God forbid, I would not expect a dime of his money. It would rightfully belong to his wife and she should use it to enjoy her life. I am an adult! You, KKNY,are just so insanely jaded that it is crazy. All SMs are not evil people lurking around waiting for their spouse to die so they can reap all the benefits and say screw you to the skids. Get over it.

"as to Mom1SM2 -- there is a difference between kids having to grovel to SM or otherwise watch all, including what dad worked for go to SM kids. That decision should not be left up to SM."

Did it ever occur to you that said father would think his kids need to get up of their knees and get a job???? Again, it is up to the person who has the inheritance to decide who gets it. The decision is not up to the SM it is up to the wife of the deceased who may also be a SM.

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ceph

*sigh*
Not this thread again... I hated this thread.

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kkny

Mom1sm2 -- which is exactly why Dad must address in his will. The problem I have is as follows -

1. SM brigade says we get house (which for many middle class people is largest asset).

2. SM says it is up to survivor (of husband and wife) to decide how kids get treated.

Which is why unless Dad wants eventually everything to go SM (who may even remarry) family and kids, he has to address in his will. Which is exactly what my X did. Thaank God. Actually he has right to give limited use to SO after his death, but had chosen to not even move house out of my name. It may suprise you, but many older successful men DO marry eye candy.

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doodleboo

" SM brigade says we get house (which for many middle class people is largest asset)."

KKNY I am just confused to what the issue is. If the house is all the family has why take that from the deceased's survivng family if his kids are grown and already have homes? I don't understand? Who would WANT to put a person whoes spouse just died out in the street?

I don't get at all what you are getting at. If I owned a home with Jonathan and we both had paid on the upkeep, mortgage and insurance together why should I have to give that home up if he dies? Should I sell my car we both pay for as well? What about our joint savings that we have scrimped for together? Should that be up for grabs too?

I'm glad I am married to J and not someone with the opposite mind set or I would be out in the streets in the event of his death.

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silversword

Ummmm... what about, dad dies, sm stays in house until she dies, then bio kids get the house? Happens all the time. No one is kicked out into the street, but it's not sm's to sell etc.

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doodleboo

"Ummmm... what about, dad dies, sm stays in house until she dies, then bio kids get the house? Happens all the time. No one is kicked out into the street, but it's not sm's to sell etc."

EXACTLY! And then it can be dvided amongst ALL the children. That would be the fair way to do it. You can state in your will that everything goes to spouse and in the event of his/her death assets are to be divid up amongst ALL remaining children of BOTH spouses. That would be Even Steven.

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kkny

In your situation, what I think might be fair is house for life to you (asssuming J dies first), and then upon your death, split between all children (in %s that the two of you agree to). Every situation is different.

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