• How can I ensure my husband and his lazy kids honor my will?

    From a425couple@21:1/5 to All on Sun Nov 19 18:22:03 2017

    How can I ensure my husband and his lazy kids honor my will?

    Published: Dec 22, 2016 10:22 p.m. ET

    A wife and mother wants to make sure her autistic daughter is looked after


    Dear Moneyologist,

    My husband and I aren’t extraordinarily well off, but he has a life
    insurance policy and a 401(k) (of which I am the beneficiary). I have
    savings and inheritance, and a stake in businesses my father and mother
    own and we are both on track to do better financially in the future.
    We’ve started planning our wills and discussing what we’d like done with our money in the likely event that one will outlive the other.

    He has two daughters from a previous marriage, one aged 16 and one 19.
    Neither has any ambition in life and the oldest seems to think that,
    even though she moved out because she didn’t want to follow our rules
    that it is our job to finance her lying about her mother’s house, is
    doing absolutely nothing. Their mother is the same way. We’ve tried to
    be a positive influence, but to little avail.

    I am worried that if I die first, my husband will not honor my wishes.
    He worries that children will hate him, if he doesn’t do was they wish. Unless we are spending money on them they want little do with us.
    Feeling Anxious
    Of course, we hope they get themselves together as they get older, but
    if their mother is any indication, I don’t hold out much hope. It sounds awful but we have agreed that, if this behavior continues, we would only
    be comfortable making direct payments for education if they were
    actually passing their classes, and that they would have to make
    requests for money for things needed by future grandkids. We have kept
    this to ourselves.

    I know this seems a little harsh, but we also have a 10-year-old
    daughter who is autistic and will likely need some form of assistance
    all her life. We simply cannot afford to send money every time they make
    bad financial choices later in life.

    I am worried that if I die first, my husband will not honor my wishes.
    He knows what is best but often caves, because he’s worried his children
    will hate him, especially where money is concerned. Unless we are
    spending money on them they want little do with us.


    Is there any legal way to make him stick to our agreement once I’m gone?

    Feeling Anxious

    Dear Feeling Anxious,

    I recently received a letter from a woman who had a dilemma similar to
    yours, except her mother had deliberately gone against her stepfather’s wishes. The Moneyologist advised her to honor her father’s will. You, on
    the other hand, wish to prevent this from happening.

    Sometimes, the clue is in the question. In this case, the clue is in the
    nom de plume. Your anxiety about and dislike of these teenage layabouts
    is impacting your happiness, and you are imagining all sorts of
    scenarios where you and your husband are taken advantage of. They are 16
    and 19 years old and, for better or for worse, are still dependent on
    their parents.

    How credit scores predict what you will buy next
    It’s hard for teenagers to find jobs these days for a variety of reasons
    (a weak economic climate is likely as much to blame as entitlement). You
    may not like them, and they may be lazier than the average teen, but
    they are still kids and, probably, they will become productive members
    of society. You don’t have to like them or their mother — just don’t let your fears grow out of all proportion. It’s actually pretty normal for
    teens (even at 19) to still be dependent on their parents (and not
    always appreciate them).

    It’s actually pretty normal for teenagers to still be dependent on their parents for money and not always appreciate that.
    The Moneyologist
    That said, you’re smart to take preventative measures to protect your daughter’s inheritance, especially as she is autistic and may require
    more care later on. In most jurisdictions, a couple can enter into a
    contract not to change their respective wills, says Geoffrey Kunkler, an
    estate attorney with Carlile, Patchen & Murphy in Columbus, Ohio. “This
    would keep things simple as everything would be left to the surviving spouse,” he says. It might also help your husband to say “Sorry, kids, I can’t change the will.” So they can’t pressure him to giving them money. The will could say a child’s shares could only be used for education,
    down payment on a home or a grandchild’s education, for instance.
    However, this doesn’t prevent your husband from buckling and giving his
    kids cash. The will only controls probate assets, so the family home or
    a 401(k) and other accounts with beneficiaries would go directly to the
    heirs with no strings attached, he says.

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    Alternatively, you could create a living trust, each funded with your
    own separate assets and joint assets split evenly to the two trusts. “At
    the death of the first spouse his or her trust would become
    irrevocable,” Kunkler says. “It could be drafted such that the funds
    could be used to support the surviving spouse or to be held exclusively
    for the children, step-children and grandchildren.” What’s more, you
    could create a special needs trust for your daughter while also ensuring
    she remains eligible for needs-based government benefits, and your
    husband could make rules to manage the inheritance of his children so
    they are motivated to become productive members of society. The trusts
    would also be outside of the jurisdiction of the local probate court
    which would keep things private and cut down on administrative expenses.

    With all that taken care of, you can focus on building a relationship
    with your husband’s children. You say that, unless you give them money
    they want nothing to do with you. This may not be because they were
    poisoned against you. It may be because they are typical teenagers.

    Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family
    feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send
    them to MarketWatch’s Moneyologist and please include the state where
    you live (no full names will be used).

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