Should I retain an attorney and form a will that will exclude her from benefits that my family of 11 generations has worked to claim and prosper? 32 Answers as of April 22, 2013

I'm 45 yo, married of 4 yr with adult children. Parents are in 80's and according to their will, I am to inherit a substantial amount of properties, in the millions figure. Is my present spouse entitled to any of this property? No pre-nups signed before wedlock. Should I retain an attorney and form a will that will exclude her from benefits that my family of 11 generations has worked to claim and prosper? She said by word of mouth that she has no interest in being involved in my family’s business

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HARRIS LAW FIRM | Jonathan Curry Harris
Consult a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 4/22/2013
Scott Polsky
Scott Polsky | Scott Polsky
Absolutely hire an attorney. You should protect your inheritance from passing to your wife in your death and, especially, upon divorce.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 4/19/2013
Law Offices of Maxwell Charles Livingston
Law Offices of Maxwell Charles Livingston | Maxwell C Livingston
If it's inherited, it shouldn't be subject to division anyway. But, yes, a lawyer can write a disclaimer - that she would sign also - and will to the effect that she will not receive any of the inheritance.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 4/19/2013
THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
In Georgia property that is inherited is NOT commingled with the spouse. However, if you ever put the property in both names it becomes joint property. Yes, you must have a Will to make sure it does go down your family line.The cost is around $250 per person to get a Will and it will help direct the heirs as to what is expected of them.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 4/18/2013
Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
Yes, you need to do some estate planning immediately, I suggest that you create a trust and a will. Also, your parents should create a trust to avoid probate.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/19/2013
    Law Office of Nathan Wagner
    Law Office of Nathan Wagner | Nathan J. Wagner
    Yes, you should talk to an attorney about this. How you, your family, and your lawyer approach this situation will depend on which state you and your wife live in, because different states have different laws about marital property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/19/2013
    The Law Office of Kelvin Green | Kelvin Green
    California is a community property state with most inheritances staying a separate property. I recommend seeing an attorney to discuss the details so you have no issues. This becomes particularly true to maintain the property as separate property and not use community funds on it that could cloud it more.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/19/2013
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    Your inheritance will be your separate property, so long as you do not commingle it with community property, you are fine. You married this woman, probably you want to make some provision for her in the event of your death. Perhaps some income for a few years or for lifetime. In any event, you should have a will, and probably a trust.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/19/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Yes you should hire an attorney. Inheritance is separate property and as long as you keep it separate she has no claim to it. However if you die with no estate plan she may be legally entitled to inherit a portion if you have no estate plan.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    It is really your personal decision, although you would probably be best served by having a trust established, as would your parents. I suggest that you seek out a qualified estate planning attorney to assist you and address all of planning needs while meting your goals and objectives.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    In Nevada any property you inherit is separate property so long as it is not comingled and no one else's name is put on it. The property must be kept separate.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    In Missouri, if you inherit property, this in considered non-marital property. However, if you co-mingle the inherited property with property of your spouse, then it becomes marital property. You should see an attorney to set up a trust for the properties that you inherit. Make sure that the only properties going into the trust are the non-marital properties that you inherit. Keep detailed records.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Get yourself to an estate planning immediately to plan a trust, pour over will, and other supporting documents for an estate plan, including a post nuptial agreement for your wife to sign declaring no claim she may have on the estate you are about to inherit.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    Under the circumstances described, you may want to simply set up a post-nuptial agreement. That will shelter the assets, if you wish to do so. Your parents could also set up their estate plans in a way that would do this, although it might limit your access to the assets. Inheritances are generally treated as "separate property" under Michigan law. They can be considered for certain purposes, in the event of a divorce. And if you commingle separate property with marital property, then you change the character of the property and your spouse could then have rights in it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If there are millions on the table, yes, get an attorney and get to work. A "post-nuptial" agreement may work, maybe, but there are fundamental problems with them. After four years of marriage your spouse is entitled to some of your estate, even if you pass with a will that says nothing to her; at 10 years she'll be entitled to a third. You may not be too old to make specific provision for her with life insurance and retirement plans, in exchange for which she could relinquish claims to the family business. But get the advice of a lawyer, because you will also have tax problems to work through.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    Your inheritance will be your separate property. I think it would be a good idea if you did a plan now that makes clear that the separate property identity will be preserved.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire | Neal M. Rimer
    Yes, you should retain an attorney. Property received during marriage from a gift, devise, bequest or inheritance is the separate property of the recipient. But, I believe your family would be better served with preparing your parents estate plan now, utilizing the law to deal with generation skipping, avoiding additional taxes in your estate, while at the same time giving you access to the assets and the income generated. There are many avenues to discuss depending on the assets, the income, and family dynamics.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    Any assets you inherit from your parents are your separate property, and not community. Your spouse would have no claim on these assets.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Since there are several issues related to your potential inheritance, you should retain an attorney to assist you. Generally, inheritances are personal property and as long as you can show that there was not a commingling of personal and communal property, the inherited would remain yours.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
    Yes, you should absolutely hire an attorney to protect those assets and make sure they remain separate inheritance assets.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    You may want to get an attorney for trusts not just a simple will.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Well, there are two issues here. Right now you have only been married for 4 years. How will you and she feel if you are married for 20 years? And does she deserve something for being married to you? And is your interest in the business community property. One thing you might consider is entering into a post-nuptial agreement. Normally, that would be used in contemplation of divorce, but it does not have to be just for that. I suggest you get with an attorney and go over all of the details of the situation - I am confident that there is a way to keep her out of the business but still provide some assistance if you die.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Florida is not a community property state, therefore the property that you inherit is yours and yours alone. It will not hurt to have a will that will exclude her from inheriting the property once you pass away. If there is not will at the time of your wife receives the first $60k and 1/2 of the estate that would go to your children. To ensure this from happening a will needs to be in place specifying exactly to whom the property is to pass to.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    There are a couple of answers to your question and more questions that need to be answered to give an in depth response. The short answer is that inheritances are separate property as long as there is no co-mingling with the community funds/property. That being said, some of the details that are necessary for a more detailed answer, such as are there children from the current marriage, etc. need to be considered. Your best bet is to see an attorney and get a complete answer. Also, it is always best to have some type of Estate Planning in place to ensure your wishes are met if you die or are incapacitated.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Kram & Wooster, P.S. | Richard H. Wooster
    You should consult with an attorney immediately. You clearly will have sufficient assets to hire the best attorneys. It is a good idea to form a relationship with an attorney before you have a problem to deal with that requires an attorney. If an issue comes up outside their expertise, they will direct you to competent counsel. A short phone consult is cheap and can save you a lot by stopping you from acting uninformed. Your inheritance will be your separate property, but you need an attorney to help you keep it that way.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray | Ronald D. Reemsnyder
    Your wife will not inherit anything from your parents unless she is a beneficiary in one or more of their wills. If you die without a will your wife will inherit from you. If you wish to exclude her you need a will
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Law Offices of R. Christine Brown | R. Christine Brown
    If you inherit your parents estate and later pass away without a will, your wife can inherit up to 1/3 of your separate property and your kids get to share the remaining 2/3. Hire an attorney to draft a Will to specifically disinherit your wife. This appears to be of great concern to you, it makes sense to hire an attorney to make sure your Will in written correctly.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    With the amount of money involved, you should consult with an attorney to have a proper estate plan established. You probably should have a trust done.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You should see an attorney for counseling about how, to the extent possible, to keep this as you personal and individual property as opposed to marital property. Do it right or lose!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
    You need to retain an estate planning attorney to help you. If your parents have not done sufficient estate planning, then they should contact an attorney as well. Your inheritance will be treated as your separate property, so long as it is clearly treated as such. When you pass away, that property will be distributed pursuant to the terms of your will. If you pass away without a will, then your wife will be entitled to a share of your separate property, pursuant to the laws of intestacy. You do not want to try to draft your estate planning documents yourself. Do yourself a favor, and make the investment in sound estate planning.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc.
    Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc. | John Palley
    Certainly you should talk to an experienced estate planning attorney to get your affairs in order. However, even better would be for your parents to do so. They can set your inheritance into a trust for your benefit but that would be protected from your spouse. That's by far the best way to pass family wealth.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    Your inheritance is separate property in Colorado. You will need to make sure you keep it titled separately. However, absent a marital agreement, any increase in value from the separate property is marital property. Yes, you should immediately hire an attorney for assistance. Do not proceed based on advice you receive over the internet.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/18/2013
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