Hi - I couldn't get this to post the first time. Question for anyone - my father died 4 months ago, we received the will this past week. I have had an attorney review it. My father left the 3 of us nothing, and we're rather confused as to why. Particularly me. His second wife inherited all. The weird thing is, my estranged brother was made the 2nd executor, not me - right here, close to my dad, and a paralegal....he received some personal items, the two daughters nothing. The other questionable thing is she dragged him in to do a will at 80.5 yrs old, nearly 3 years after he was diagnosed with dementia. The attorney says I can contest the will, but of course that will cost more than all of us have. Any thoughts? Thank you much.

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If your father had left everything to your mother (assuming they were still married) would you be still asking this question? It seems as if you do not view your stepmother as family - but your father did think of her as his wife.

My dad is going to leave everything to my step mom. He had significantly more in assets than she did when they married 14 years ago, but she is his WIFE. We expect them to leave everything to each other. It does not mean that my dad or my stepmom have bad relationships with their kids. It is just the fact that the marital partner is the primary sharer of the assets.

Then the last one to go (assuming anything is left from MERP) will be split between my dad's three kids and my stepmom's three kids. This makes sense to me - spouse first, children second for leaving the assets.

How is your stepmom going to leave things?
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My husband was very upset when his father married his live-in girlfriend of 25 years a few days before he died, and while in hospital drew up a will that didn't mention his 2 children from a first marriage. I felt like the girlfriend had been there for 25 years, she deserved something. However, when my husband and I made out our wills, he didn't mention his own two children, whereas I put my children in my will to inherit my IRA. He only had his work pension, which could not got to his kids except as contingent beneficiaries if I died or we divorced. However, after my husband's death I gave his two sons and his sister each $10,000 out of his life insurance and am glad I did. His sister and I have remained close, and I am at least Facebook friends with his children.
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My mom and stepdad's wills were as Kimber166 outlined. Each one's will had matching language. When the first spouse dies, the surviving spouse inherits all assets. Makes sense. (You may not like your stepmother, but she is your father's wife -- and she needs a roof over her head and a baseline income.)

The next clause in my mom and stepdad's will was that, upon the remaining spouse's death, all surviving adult children -- stepdad's kids and I -- split the assets equally.

Is it fair? Yes and no. My mom came into that marriage with nothing; all of the assets were my stepdad's. And I'm nauseatingly familiar with the assumptions that go along with that.

My mom was so chagrined by the disparity, that she spent as little as possible after she was widowed. Would not make any changes to investment funds. No withdrawals aside from her annual RMD. Would not sell the investment properties that stepdad touted as his "legacy" for decades before my mom entered his life. Would not make upgrades or repairs to her primary home.

As a widow, my mom began every month by making a hefty contribution to my stepfamily's church, paying utilities and buying groceries. Then she sat on her hands til the next SS check came.

Mom's dead now, too. We "kids" are slogging our way through probate. It's slow. Nobody's fault. Just how it is.

Mom was fixated on preserving her hubby's kids' inheritance. Therefore, refused to invest in her own ailing health. No doctors, no PT, no assistive devices. Refused to install grab bars...or a stair lift...or main-level laundry. Refused to pay for in-home help with housekeeping and ADLs. Refused to consider a CCRC or IL or AL. Refused to assign POA to anyone in her bloodline.

Mom knew all about the high cost of professional care and private pay. She also knew all about the Medicaid look-back period and estate recovery.

So Mom's response was turbo-level self-neglect. Her big quest to "not spend their inheritance" (and dementia creeping in) jeopardized her safety and shortened her life. I'll spare you the details, but mom's death was somewhat undignified. And definitely linked to her decisions and non-decisions.

But now no one can accuse her of being a gold-digger. No one can say "she spent all his money and his kids got nothing." That was a huge priority for Mom.

Are you wondering where my peace of mind and my sanity fit into all this? So am I.
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I suspect you're right. I am not by nature much of a fighter, but what this tells me is my relationship with my father meant nothing. That is a cruel realization.
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This reminds me to check my own will. My intention is that my two sons and three step-daughters will share equally, if there is anything left to share. I need to make sure that is what the will says.
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My husband and I always agreed to take care of each other first. As it has turned out, I am caring for him in our home and he has provided for me financially for the rest of my life. Hopefully, but long term care expenses being what they are, who knows. My children want me to make sure I take care of myself first and not worry about their inheritance. My husband tells me his nephew is greedy and to watch out for him. I don't know because I've only met him once and he seems nice enough. Anyway, if there is anything left over after I'm gone, I'll split three ways between amongst my two children and his nephew. We have mirroreills so I've provided for hubby, too, but at the moment it's not looking like I'll go first but who knows. All this is to say, nobody knows what goes on between husband and wife but my husband taking care of me is a source of pride for him and my taking care if him is a testament to my love and devotion.
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Of course you can fight this. Is it worth it to you to do so. Sounds like your dad wanted his wife to be cared for and perhaps had reasons to feel that if she wasn't left everything in the will, you kids may not have cared for her. I don't know, I just am guessing. Your use of the phrase "she dragged him into the attorney's after he was dxed with dementia" sounds like you are pretty mad. I'm sorry for your loss and hope you can find peace in this situation.
People have a right to leave whatever they'd like to whomever they'd like. It causes problems in families when inheritances are "expected" ( and I personally don't think that anyone should ever EXPECT an inheritance!) My mother is so flighty, she has "promised away" the same piece of furniture to 3 different people. All 3 want it, too, so that's going to be something, when the time comes.
My sweet grandmother made a "holistic will" in that she gave certain items to certain people, asked that the sale of her modest home be split among her 3 children and asked the remaining family, in honor of her, NOT TO FIGHT over anything.
I got a cake pan from her house that reminds me of her. Best of all, I was NAMED for her.
The distribution of money after a death seems to bring the worst out in people. It's sad. Can you just let your step mom have it all and be OK with it?
Helpful Answer (6)

Houndmother, first my heartfelt sympathy at the passing of your Dad.

It is very common for one spouse to leave the whole estate to the other spouse, even a step-parent, especially if they had been married for many years.

As for your Dad making out a updated Will, again, which is very common because State laws do change.   If this Will was drawn through an Attorney's office, then it was up to the Attorney to decide if your Dad was able to understand what he was signing.   Apparently he was.

Also it is not uncommon for the sons to receive items from the estate, it an old stereotype that the sons have families to take care of, where the daughters have or will have husbands to take care of them.   It's an old fashion way of thinking.

That is why it is better to think one will not inherit anything, and then be surprised if you do.
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I am the "step-mother". I have been married to my husband for 4 years now. I came into the relationship with many more assets than my husband but his children view me as the gold digger. Is it possible that you may not know the real story? How much someone gives you in the event of their death has no reflection on your relationship with them. I am wondering where people are getting the idea that they deserve an inheritance. I have told my father to enjoy the money he has and I do not need any of his money. I just want him to enjoy the time he has left. Enjoy what you had with your father and move on. You never know what she brought to the relationship. His happiness was way more important than any money.......
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It is typical for a couple to will their estate to each other, but that does not always happen. In my case, my mother left me everything and left my step-dad nothing. Even her money which was a lot was separate from his and she made me co-owner of all of it with right of survivorship. They did have a joint account, but she kept her money separate. I happened to see his will and it left everything to his three adult children. The only conclusion that I drew from this is that their marriage was not much of a relationship which was evident in life as well. My aunt told me that my mother and step-dad had made an agreement when they got married that each was going to look after their own and they did.
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