No Will? Your Spouse and Ex Will be Stuck Togehter
Some people may be under the impression that it does not matter if they have a will because the property will pass to their spouse. After reading this blog this impression will be replaced with the stark reality of an ackward situation you may create. Let's take a typical fact pattern to demonstrate how a simple will can make a huge difference.
John and Mary have been married for 3 years. John was previously married and has a 7-year-old son. Before marrying Mary, John owned a pickup truck and a house. Mary has a 5-year old daughter from her previous marriage. John and Mary purchased a home together after they were married.
Let’s see what happens if John dies without a will:
John’s Truck: John’s son from his previous marriage will own 2/3 of the truck and Mary will own 1/3 of the truck.
John’s house: John’s son will inherit 2/3 of the house and Mary will inherit 1/3 of the house. However, Mary will be able to live in the house during her lifetime.
John and Mary’s house: John’s son will inherit ½ of the house and Mary will inherit the other ½ of the house.
Mary’s joint ownership with John’s son will require her to work with John’s ex-wife. This could make for a difficult time. John will still be responsible for paying child support after his death. His estate will have to surrender property to pay the child support. This could cause John’s ex-wife to ask a court to force the sale of the house and truck because the son is part owner.
Let’s see what happens if John died with a will:
If John died with a will, then he could have avoided such partial ownership of property. John could have left his truck and marital home to Mary. The house John owned before his marriage to Mary could have been given to his son in a trust and allowed Mary to use the home or John could have given the entire home to Mary.
John could have put the house in a trust and earned rental income or he could have the house sold and the proceeds from the sale placed in the trust. The money in the trust could be used for his son’s health, education, and welfare until his son became an adult. This would have ensured the money was protected and John’s ex-wife could not misuse the property. The trust could have named John’s son as a beneficiary so John could provide the court ordered child support without having to sell property and denying Mary assets.
As you can see, having a will can avoid situation in which your current spouse and your ex-spouse will be forced to work together. With the many options available to obtain a will, from a brick and mortar law office to an online and mobile law office like ours in which we make house calls, there is little reason not to have a will.
Talk to an estate planning attorney about how you can avoid awkward situations while providing for your current spouse and your children from a prior marriage. The Law Office of Hugh Spires, Jr. will be glad to assist you with your needs. You can reach us at 210-874-5700 or through our contact form on www.TexasWillsLawyer.com.