My husband and his brother are to split his father's assets 50/50 per his father's will. His mother died last year and the father took both brothers to the bank and put them as signers on the savings and checking account and POD on the CD's and annuity. My brother-in-law is having an affair and we live out of state. The only reason we know is because his wife called to tell us they will be living separately but acting divorced because the brother doesn't want to tell his father. My concern is this is a small rural town and I want to protect my husband's portion of the inheritance. I'm in real estate and see these issues all the time. My husband does not want to get involved. Can you tell me if it sounds like my husband is protected or is there some other precautions he should take?
My mistake. I should have written acting married so the brother will not have to tell his father before he passes. He's 86 and in very poor health.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
I am assuming that the question is whether the assets of the estate could somehow become involved in the divorce and be claimed by the brother's wife. The answer is no. The inheritance is the brother's. The wife has no claim on it. Your husband's share absolutely is not at risk or involved in any manner.Even though there is no legal claim, your experience in real estate shows the very real problem that mortgage companies often require signatures from people who really have no interest in property and those people often demand money for their signatures. If the parties are just "pretending" to be together, the wife should have no problem signing a Separation Agreement waiving her rights, so that everyone will be satisfied that she has no claim.
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Estate Planning Attorney
Inheritances are always separate property so the spouse has no claim against the inheritance. Your Husband should still talk to an attorney in VA to be sure his interests are protected and the best way to do that.
This is intended to be general guidance and not necessarily state specific advice. There are some concepts that are the same or similar in most jurisdictions but not all. Use the AVVO.com web site to find an attorney in your area for state specific advice. In addition to that, contact your local bar association for referral to an attorney who specializes in this or talk to friends and neighbors to ask about an attorney they have used and liked. Often, but not always, the attorney will do an initial consultation free of charge. You will then be in a better position to determine what to do next. Best of luck to you!
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