I love my son-in-law but…

Parents often have questions about what happens in many situations that involve a child’s spouse.  What happens if my daughter dies before me, does her share go to her husband?  What happens if my daughter gets divorced, can her husband take her inheritance? Truthfully, we really don’t like our son-in-law.  We are afraid he will take our daughter’s inheritance or make her spend it on him.  Is there any way to protect her? 

Most parents just want to make sure any inheritance they leave a child actually benefits that child or if the child is deceased their grandchildren.  We can help you to create a plan that gives you peace of mind.  You can know your legacy will pass to your daughter protected from her potential divorce, a son-in-law you don’t like, or to your grandchildren if your daughter dies before you. We call this blood line planning.  We do it all the time.  Your planning should be all about you, your goals for yourself and your loved ones. 

Clients seem surprised when I tell them they do not have to leave anything to their son-in-law.   Other than your spouse, no one else has a legal right to inherit property from you.  Tell that to your children that when they get out of line…  Actually, very few parents leave a deceased child’s share to the child’s surviving spouse.  I jokingly tell my clients that my in-laws love me more than they love my husband. I have been told there are no refunds.  I know that I will not receive my husband’s share of their estate if he dies before them.  The inheritance will pass to our children.  I am perfectly ok with that.  It’s what most children expect. 

Even if you feel very comfortable and confident about your daughter’s marriage, you may worry about a potential divorce.  You want to make sure your daughter’s inheritance is not taken from her in a divorce.  Ask yourself, what would you do if you received an inheritance?  Most of us would put the inheritance into some kind of joint account with our spouse.  Once that occurs, some part of your daughter’s inheritance is likely go to her soon to be ex-spouse.  Even if your daughter keeps the inheritance separate from her husband, it is still likely to be divided during the divorce.  

Sometimes even when you try you just don’t like your daughter’s husband.  Parents occasionally tell me that they are worried that about how their son-in-law treats their daughter or that he spend too much money, or is a bad influence.  They worry that their daughter’s inheritance will be wasted on him.

Your estate plan can make sure the legacy you leave your daughter is only used for her daughter and your grandchildren.  We believe that your estate planning should be about you, your family and your goals.  We can help you figure out the right plan for you and create that plan.  You can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your family is protected.  We would love to help you.

©Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. 35 Arnold Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, 336 South Street,   Hyannis MA 02601 and 45 Bristol Drive, Easton MA 02375.  This article is for illustration purposes only.  This handout does not constitute legal advice.  There is no attorney/client relationship created with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. by this article.  DO NOT make decisions based upon information in this handout.  Every family is unique and legal advice can only be given after an individual consultation with an elder law attorney.  Any decisions made without proper legal advice may cause significant legal and financial problems.