When an Elderly Parent Remarries: Is It Time to Step in to Stop the Spending?

By Daniel A. Perry, Esq.

Today, I’d like to speak to you about somewhat of a controversial topic. I was recently speaking with a client who asked me “Dan, should we step in and stop our parent from spending their money on these vacations and trips with his new spouse?” This is usually a very uncomfortable question and topic to speak with anyone about, especially a parent. However, in our experience, this is usually how the situation can go from bad to worse:

Dad’s wife passes away after a long marriage. Several years later, Dad remarries a woman who is approximately 10 years younger than him. In the years that follow, Dad goes on several trips and vacations with his new wife. They spend a lot of time in their remaining years just enjoying life. Several years later, Dad dies following a short illness. Years earlier, he said that he was rewriting his will and would be leaving the home that he shared with his new wife to her, but that the IRA and the investment accounts would be going to the three children equally. The children, not thinking much about it and wanting to follow their dad’s wishes, believed this to be fair. However, after Dad died and speaking with the probate attorney, the children learned that all Dad had left was the home and a bank account with approximately $20,000. All the investment accounts and the IRA had been completely depleted. The children feeling disrespected and taken advantage of by the new wife, hire an attorney and seek to recover their promised inheritance from their dad’s wife from the $20,000 left in the bank and the proceeds from the sale of the home.

Although difficult to think about, this is a very common scenario when children are promised one thing regarding their parent’s estate, and when the time comes, they receive something completely different.

When it comes time to speak with your parent regarding their spending, it is best to speak to them early. The alternative is to not talk about it to spare their feelings, and then ending up in court years later because everyone is upset.

Before your estate settlement ever gets to this level, make sure that your estate is thoroughly planned when you are getting remarried or if you are already in a remarriage situation.

For More Information

If are interested in speaking with an attorney to discuss the establishment of the perfect estate plan for you and your family, then please contact our office and schedule a time to meet with one of our estate planning attorneys. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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