Myth #3- When my spouse dies, my kids get what is left.

November 3, 2017
Lindsay M. Schoeneberger

This is a big one among couples with kids from previous relationships.  People come in and say they want to leave everything to their spouse and then their kids.  Often time people think they can control what happens to their belongings after their surviving spouse dies through a basic Will.

Take Susie and Vince.  They are married and Susie has 2 children from a previous relationship.  She would like to leave everything outright to Vince and then her two kids get what is left when Vince dies.  The problem with this is that once everything passes to Vince, it is his.  Her Will no longer controls what happens to everything that passed to Vince.  Vince can promise to leave everything to Susie’s children on his death.  But Vince can also change his Will after Susie dies.  What if Vince remarries and has children of his own?  He could easily leave everything to the new wife, or his children. Are there ways to achieve what Susie wants?  Sure there are, but you need a skilled lawyer and something beyond a basic Will.

Lindsay Schoeneberger is an attorney at Russell, Krafft and Gruber, LLP in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She received her law degree from Widener University School of Law and practices in a variety of areas, including Estate Planning.