A Minnesota Family Is Thinking About Mom
Today I'd like to tell you a story about a Minnesota family that is concerned about their mother. Three adult children, whom I'll call Judy, Jerry, and Jackie all live in the south metro area of the Twin Cities. Their Dad died a few years ago and their Mom has struggled with the loneliness from his passing. Over the past two years, Mom has been seeing a nice fellow at the senior citizens center where she lives. Recently Mom shocked her children when she announced that she and the new fellow, Hubert, plan to marry.
Dad Left An Estate For The Family
Dad left a nice nest egg for Mom to live a good life. He wanted the kids - Judy, Jerry, and Jackie - to get the benefit of his business success and estate planning.
Now that she is planning to remarry, Jerry and his sisters are concerned that Dad's assets may go to Mom's new husband if she dies before him.
That's a very legitimate concern.
Of course, if Mom wants husband number 2 to get the family assets that could very well happen.
But, if Mom wants Jerry and his sisters to get a share of the family assets, it is very important that she and the family make some estate planning decisions before the wedding.
Some Estate Planning Possibilities For The Family
Here are some possibilities under Minnesota law.
Mom could get a prenuptial or premarital Agreement done with her future husband before the wedding.
A prenuptial agreement is a somewhat complicated document that safeguards certain family assets, usually for the children of the first marriage. This document should be drafted by an attorney experienced in prenuptial agreements. It should be done well in advance of the wedding, so it is completed with care and all of the assets are accounted for.
Mom could "gift" some assets to her children or other family members before the marriage. This has many risks and Mom and the children should carefully consider all the implications of this step. They should also consult with an experienced professional on this type of decision.
It is also possible to use "transfer on death" deeds or "payable on death" bank accounts to assure that Mom's children get the assets that she and Dad intended.
Another possibility is for Mom to create a Revocable Living Trust that would transfer family assets before or after her death.
In all of these cases, it is a good idea, if possible, for the new husband to be in agreement with the estate plan. Nowadays, people live longer and are healthier well into old age; the possibility of a second or even third marriage of a surviving spouse is very likely.
The family and Mom should think about these decisions and take action, so they are not surprised later that the new spouse may get the family assets.
Bill Peterson is a Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney with over 40 years of experience as a lawyer. He can help you plan for the future by creating a Minnesota Estate Plan. For more information, please visit http://www.mnestateplan.com or call toll free at 952-641-7312.
The contents of this article are for information only and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. For personal legal advice you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in probate law or estate planning.