Question: Dear Luise, My husbands adult children have disowned himbecause he divorce their mother and married me. The kids knew their parents were living a separate lives for more than 20 year. He doesn’t believe the first two of his children are his.All three have taken their mothers side and want nothing to do with him. He has talked with his mother time and time again.She has told her son to make his will and leave them out. Now comes the time he is starting to make his will. This is what he said this morning to me. He would like to leave ten thousand dollars to whoever takes a DNA test to prove they are his children. He wants them to know that maybe one or two are possibly not his child. This is how he is thinking about how to get the message across to them that their mother did what she did in the marriage. My Question to him is he my husband will be gone. The older son owes his Dad money. the only Daughter borrowed $25 thousand and is not going to repay. The younger had his education paid for by his father because he screwed up his grades and messed up his scholarship. He says he believes he was a good Dad and they do not even stop to think what a bad Dad is. I don’t believe he should leave them anything other than a penny for their thoughts.What they are doing to him is unbelievable to me. They said they wished he were dead. Should he include them in his will if they have disowned him? I told them if a relationship is built again at a later date he can change it. B.
Answer: Dear B.: I can’t be of much help to you. I have no legal training but I do know that the laws and customs regarding wills differ depending on where you live. That said, wills can be used to get even, benefit the needy or repay kindnesses. They can even to be humorous…just to name a few of the motivations behind bequests. Where I live, which is in the U. S., Washington is a community property state. So, unless there is a pre-nuptial agreement before marriage, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse. After a spouse is left alone, a will is drawn up that disburses the estate according to the wishes of the surviving partner.
I have no idea how the laws read where you live, of course. It just seems logical to me for each spouse to leave everything to the other. If that person lives considerably longer…the estate may be used up in the meantime. My take is that’s what it’s for. I don’t understand how your husband sees your joint estate as his or how he can decide where it is to go…should you outlive him. The only exception I can think of is if you worry that both of you might die at the same time and want a will to cover that. In such an event, it is up to both of you, not just him, to decide where it would go…isn’t it? Blessings, Luise