Estate question: How can my mom plan for her retirement if her husband has not communicated what to expect from his estate?

Asked over 3 years ago - San Francisco, CA

My mom who remarried her current husband of 30 years has issues regarding the arrangement between his 1st wife. He is 82 yrs and my mom is 78. He has a large estate but the majority of the income properties he has is in his 1st wife name & his including the property they live in currently. Should my step-dad die tomorrow she does not have a property to call her own, except a property in SF but with a mortgage on it for an investment property which may go in default & in Canada but the majority of her family live in the Bay Area. What can be done to determine what is in his estate and what she can expect to receive if he should pass. He has not communicated this to her & causes her great stress. She needs to know what to expect & how to plan for the rest of her retirement

Additional information

How can she determine what kind of arrangement her husband has with his 1st wife and doing so without offending her husband?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Kelly M. Shovelin

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyer agrees


    Answered . Your mom needs to have an open and honest discussion with her husband. If he still is not forthcoming about his assets and his intentions for providing for her (if at all) when he passes, then your mom needs to focus on herself. She needs to plan for and behave as though he will leave her no interests in monies or assets when he passes. If she takes it upon herself to plan for her future and retirement, then she cannot be disappointed regardless of what occurs when he passes.

    The comment provided above is intended as general information and IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. You should consult an... more
  2. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . These are not really legal questions. Her husband is not being transparent here and this is cause for legitimate concern and her stress is well warranted. Her best bet is to find out now what is going on and in detail. It may be that his silence is that she will get nothing much and the prior wife already has been gifted the bulk of his assets. If these were completed gifts you mom has no real recourse.
    But having said that, she needs to step up big time and confront this situation head on while he is alive. It will probably turn out that her stress is well founded. Better to bring this all out in the open now before it is too late (when he is dead and nothing can be done).

    Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the thumbs up (helpful) tab below and/or designate my answer as best answer. Thanks.
    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is . For further tax advice check out his website is . and his blog is <>

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia... more

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