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What if one spouse refuses to sign a living trust that is drawn up by an attorney and 50-50 so it's fair.

Walnut Creek, CA |
Filed under: Estate planning

Father (79) step mom (80) disagree about estate planning. He wanted 1/4 to go to each child. Step mother has a son, my father had three kids (one died) so two are left. I plan to help my Dad find an attorney and gather his information, but I am concerned that we will find my step mom unwilling to sign even if we abide by the law (50/50) split of assets.
What can be done if she refuses to sign? Even if it's fair? Thank you

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Your father can engage an attorney for his own estate plan. He has testamentary control over one-half of his community property assets and 100% over his separate property assets. A local estate planning attorney can explain this to you and your father.

    This is a general answer only and you should seek the advice of counsel to address facts specific to your circumstances.


  2. I agree with Attorney Hackard. No matter how "fair" a document is, you cannot force someone to sign an estate plan. There is nothing else you can do, if she refuses. Your father can sign with regard to his assets and if he survives his wife, then his estate plan would control.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


  3. It is very clear that your father, first and foremost, needs his own lawyer. He should not only have his own Will and Revocable Living Trust, but it is vital that he reviews his beneficiary designations to insure that the proper beneficiaries are stated for insurance policies, retirement accounts, etc. Good luck to you.

    This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


  4. Each person can dictate their own terms, actually. what is "fair" to you might not seem "fair" to the other person.

    If both go to an estate planning attorney, a single document can be made to accomplish the wishes of both parties.

    Since they disagree, it might be that both have to create individual and different plans. consult a decent estate planning attorney to make sure what to do next.

    The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs. www.figgardenlaw.com

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