My father has cancer and has a decent chance of dying. He is separated from my mother, but is not officially divorced. However, he has lived with a mistress for several years and I am worried that she will lay claim to his assets after he dies. Does she have any right to do so and should my mother be worried or prepare legally?
Your Dad needs to decide what he want to so with his "stuff. That is not a legal term but you get the idea. Bank and investment accounts can passed to an heir outside of probate with a Pay on Death or Transfer on Death designation with the holder of the account. The same for real estate, he can sign a Transfer on Death deed. There s a DMV form for any vehicles. Insurance proceeds will be paid to the designated beneficiary.
Whether his ladyfriend has any claim on his estate will depend on some factors. Did they buy property together and did she pay a part of the purchase price? Did she pay for maintenance, upkeep, and repairs for real estate?
This is pretty general advice so what you need to do is have a talk with your Dad outside the presence of these two ladies and ask what he wants to do and help him to put together an inventory of his assets.
This is also one of those situations where there can be an argument over your Dad's body. You Dad can sign a form designating what he wants done with his remains. Ask your Dad and go see a funeral director. Sec. 711.002(a)(1) of the Texas Health & Safty Code answers this question. You can access all Texas statutes at https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/
Household items can simply disappear and no one seems to know who got them. An inventory would help. Locking her out of their residence is not a good idea. Your Dad needs a Medical POA and Advance Directive. An attorney who does estate planning will be a big help.
I have practiced law for over 40 years and currently reside in Colorado. I am licensed to practice in Texas and Colorado. For the most part, I practice in the area of estate planning, which includes drafting wills and powers of attorney, guardianships, probate, real estate, and related issues. My response to your question does not create an attorney-client relationship with me or any attorney. My response is based on the information provided.
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