The home was purchased with equity that I brought to this 2nd marriage. There is a small mortgage on it, which is in both mine and my husband's name. It was agreed by my husband at the time of our marriage, that a large share of the equity would be left to my 2 children and my husband would receive a smaller portion of it. How can we go about making it legal to disinherit my 2 step daughters on this home at the time of my or my husbands death..whether it be that we pass at the same time or a different times. Also, would we need separate wills or is there a way to cover it all in one? Thank you
You make an appointment with an estate planning lawyer and tell him/her what you want to accomplish. They then draft the wills (and related documents) for both of you. If you are asking for specific language for a DIY will, it is not appropriate for this website. If you try it on your own, when it is determined to be invalid after your death, the state will determine who gets the money. This should have been done immediately upon your marriage, as any "agreement" with your husband is basically worthless.
Family Law Attorney
Separate wills are a better idea than a joint will for a number of reasons that I would be glad to discuss with you. That does not mean the language cannot be the same when it comes to leaving property to someone. You do not actually have to dis-inherit anyone. You merely decide who you want to leave something to. Do not do this without a lawyer. You would be making a serious mistake if you do.
I agree with my colleagues. Another reason to meet with an estate planning attorney is that there are other documents that you need, including durable power of attorney forms for health and financial matters. You may find after meeting with the attorney, that Wills are not the best way to accomplish your objectives. For example, you may wish to avoid the cost of probate for your children. That cannot be done with Wills.
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While the other attorneys provide you with excellent advice, i wanted to add some additional insight. First, yours is a classic blended family scenario. The spouses wish to take care of each other but want their intended separate assets to pass to their particular beneficiaries and not to one or more particular beneficiaries of the spouse. So, if you decide to go the simple, all outright to spouse, approach, you plan has no guarantee whatsoever of being carried out if you die before your spouse. If you first, your assets will pass to your spouse and he or she can do whatever he or she wishes, including having them pass to a later spouse or the later spouse's kids, etc. Since this option normally is not acceptable to spouses, you will then need to consider passing assets to your spouse in trust, which opens up another set of questions, including who the trustee will be. Will the Trustee be the surviving spouse or another party? Lots of questions to property structure this type of plan. Hence the need to seek the assistance of an attorney experienced in doing estate planning for blended families. Another issue is year's support (under GA law) or forced shares (under other state's laws) and the avoidance of this issue to also help ensure that your desired plan is carried out. As you can see, this is not a simple topic. If you would like more info on Blended Families, Passing Assets to Spouses Outright vs in Trust, choice of fiduciaries, and as to the question of your primary estate planning document being a will or revocable living trust, you can go to our website for articles on all of these subjects and more, which have all been written in house as part of our free monthly newsletter service. www.morgandisalvo.com. Good luck.