anonymous11306 Asked August 2010

How can I be sure that my dad's reciprocal will is enforceable?


My dad told me that his will leaves everything to my step-mother and their will is set up such that when she dies, her estate would be divided in half between me and her two children. I've told my dad this is not a safe venture for his will may not be enforceable. How can I make sure it is?

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EXPERT Carol Bradley Bursack Sep 2010
Only an attorney can make sure this is enforceable. Did an attorney draw up the original will? If so, it's best to see that attorney. If not, an attorney should look it over to make sure the intent is well worded so it can be carried out.
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EXPERT Ralph Robbins Oct 2010
The way your father has set this up has one fatal flaw: At his demise your step-mother can change her will any way she desires. Sure hope you get along well with your step-mom and step-siblings!

The better way to do this if they have separate assets or have agreed on estate separation at his demise would be for his will to devise the portion that is to eventually go to you to a QTIP trust (Qualified Terminable Interest Property).

This arrangement will permit your step-mother to have income from the asset for her lifetime and at her demise the principal would devise to you (if the trust is so worded, in some instances principal invasion can be permitted if there are extenuating circumstances).

An attorney familiar with these matters should be consulted. It will not be expensive to establish this.
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hlpngteens Oct 2010
My father was asked by a judge if he would be financially responsible for myself and my granddaughters if I gained custody. He responded, absolutely. My mother never worked and had no income. She gets money from my dad's estate when he passed in '06 and quit paying on the home my dad bought for the girls and I and we had to move to her house. She not only is abusive and has been all my life, but is showing signs of alzheimer's and dr. has her on numerouse meds. Can I legally enforce my father's will even though he did not change his will to state it, but did say it in a court of law? She throws us out of the house regularly.
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Thanks and I've pointed this flaw out to my dad but he does not want to talk about it. My step-mother has been jealous of me my whole like and my relationships with her two children are not much better. He lives 6 1/2 hours drive away.
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