My stepfather has two wills. My sister and I are his step daughters and he is married to our biological mother.

Asked about 1 year ago - Mullica Hill, NJ

He has no biological children and no previous wives. He did not adopt us. His will is dividing his assets in half to his biological niece and nephew. My mom's will divides her estate in half between me and my sister. Should my mom go first, how does her estate get dispersed? I have been told that a % of her assets will go to our stepfather as surviving spouse, which means his niece and nephew would be getting part of our mom's estate, which my sister and I do not want to see happen. Our mother is in the will of her aunt. How do we stop these assets from going into my stepfathers will for his niece and nephew to inherit?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Leonard Bernard Feld

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Dear Madam or Sir in New Jersey:

    Your step father has one Will. The last dated Will is the Will unless your step father physically destroyed it.

    It sounds as if your Mom and Step Father are both living. You did not state the terms of your Mom's Will, although you seem to know the terms of your Step Father's Will.

    If your Mom dies first, you first look at her Will. she may have left it all to her husband and you get nothing. Anything she leaves to her husband is now his, not yours. When he dies, his assets are distributed per the terms of his Will. If he leaves stuff to his biological niece/nephew, that is his right and your objection has no legal basis.

    If your Mom's Will seeks to disinherit her husband (leaving it all to her two daughters), he has the right to object to the Will and demand an approximate 1/3 share. They may have a prenuptial agreement wherein both renounce their rights to object to such a disinheritance of a spouse; that is often seen in second marriages where there are children from other parents involved.

    While you are so concerned about part of your Mother's estate going to her husband and then to his biological niece/nephew, have you considered the possibility that your step father may simply spend the money and leave nothing to anyone?

    You are also concerned about your Aunt's Will; that is the third person whose Will concerns you. If your Aunt dies and leaves assets to her niece, your Mom, then anything your Mom then owns will pass by the instructions in your Mom's Will, when she passes.

    Good Luck

    Leonard Feld

    The foregoing is based on the little information provided; additional facts may change the comments given.
  2. Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortunately, an attorney would need to review the wills in question and know your family's circumstances to properly answer your questions. If you have access to copies of these documents, your best bet is to bring them to an experienced attorney who can review them and provide you with the answers which you seek. Good luck to you.

    This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor... more
  3. Lee Alan Thompson

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Why not just talk to both of them. Did you consider that if a % goes to him the reverse would be true. Are the niece and nephew as concerned about losing a portion to you as you are of them. Maybe neither of them have even thought about it. If they agree with you, there are simple estate planning things they can do. The other thing is,maybe they've taken steps outside of the Wills already that you're not aware of because how they dispose of their assets is their business and not the business of anyone else.

    Attorneys on Avvo donate their time and your feedback is appreciated. Be sure to mark the "Best Answer" or Helpful"... more
  4. Estela Matta


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Attorney Feld has fully explained the situation. I cannot add anything more meaningful.

    This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this... more

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