By Terry Savage on January 06, 2024 | Financial Planning / Retirement

How can I make sure my son‘s wife gets nothing after I die that I have worked for all my life? My son has no children, and to leave a third of my estate to him, and then he passes away before his wife, would mean it reverts to her. I have two grandchildren and two other adult children I would rather see get that money, but I don’t know how to avoid her not getting it. My son would be devastated if I leave nothing to him, which I would not do anyway. Thank you.

Terry Says

You need a sophisticated estate planning attorney to create a series of trusts to avoid the problem you describe. In the Chicago area, I recommend Kerry Peck – estate and elder law specialist at 312-201-0900.
But since the attorney must be registered in the state you reside, if you are not in Illinois, find an estate planning attorney at – -the website of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

One thing to keep in mind, no matter how good your estate plan it will be invalidated if your son chooses to take money out of the trusts you set up and do something that allows his spouse to claim ownership, such as buying a house in joint name, or paying off the mortgage on a house that is jointly owned. Otherwise, inherited assets are not considered community property in a divorce, as long as they are kept separate. And as part of YOUR estate plan, you could gift an estate plan to your son, carving out money meant for the grandchildren.
Your lawyer will help you through this process, but it may be partly in vain if your son doesn’t share your assessment of his wife!!

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