My father has Alzheimer-type dementia. He has a living trust that names himself, my brother and me as co-trustees over all of his affairs, including finances. The three of us can act in unison, or my father can act as sole trustee, or my brother and I can act as joint co-trustees if my father is declared incompetent or dies. He sold his home and moved into an independent living apartment in TN. His only assets remaining in the trust are stock holdings and a bank account. He also has a whole life insurance policy outside the trust. He receives SS and a pension. He has a will naming my brother and me as beneficiaries of his estate (50% each). We are his only children. If he remarries and dies, does the new wife inherit anything?
If your father remarries and dies, his wife would inherit something. It depends on whether he changed his will/trust or not. If he did not provide for his new wife, she would have rights under TN law as a "pretermitted spouse" (a spouse married after the estate planning documents were signed). The spouse would have a right to "elect" to receive a share of your father's estate - generally, around 30%. Please consult a TN estate planning attorney for a full answer.
Spouses come first under Tennessee Probate law. It won't matter whether the spouse is married for a minute or a lifetime (certain fraudulent circumstances not withstanding).
If you are worried that a new wife might be trying to fleece your father, you and your brothers can consult with an attorney and get some specific advice.
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The new wife would not inherit everything unless the trust was modified. I am unsure whether all or a portion of his total assets are in the trust or not. I would need to review the trust documents and will to fully answer your question. Typically, a surviving spouse has a right to elect against a will, and depending on how long the marriage lasts, could receive 10-40% of the net estate. You have done a fine job of providing information, but more is needed to get you a complete answer.
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