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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 4, 2005 / 24 Adar II, 5765

A prenup could have avoided this nightmare

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: My father remarried shortly after our mother's death six years ago. At 80, Dad was 22 years older than his new wife, and while that caused me concern at the time, he would not listen to me. They moved into the home that he and Mother had purchased in the 1960s. After a year of arguments about his new wife not having any security, my father put her name on the deed to the house, even though she had never contributed one penny. Not three weeks later, two of her children moved in with them (they are in their mid-30s), further disrupting an ill-fated relationship.

My father told me many times that he would divorce my stepmother, but he didn't think he could live through the proceedings. Then, early last year, Dad suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and in need of assistance. His wife put on a good show at the hospital, but when he returned home, she refused to care for him. She started to abuse him, sometimes leaving him all day with a dirty, wet diaper. Finally, he begged me to take him out of that house. I brought him to my home, cut back my hours at work, and took care of him for the past year and a half.

Once he was out of the house, the wife demanded money that Dad did not have, and she sued him for support in family court. The judge ordered him to temporarily pay the ongoing monthly expenses of the house, even though her two children, who both work, live there. Using the power of attorney that he gave me years ago, I went to the bank and borrowed money to pay what my father owed her because his only income was Social Security, and she had caused him to spend most of his savings during the marriage. Early this year, Dad had a heart attack and died. The will he signed before he married No. 2 left everything to me. She has sued his estate in family court to try to get continuing payments, and has filed a claim against his estate for her share of his half of the house and his other assets.

She and her children have also made claims for services to him that are totally bogus. This is overwhelming to me and over the heads of the lawyers in the small town where we live. Can you give us any guidance?

A: In a word, you have a rather complicated mess with No. 2 seeking to double-dip using both the family and probate courts. Here are the problems and potential solutions:

Generally speaking, only property division claims can be pursued in a matrimonial action after the death of a spouse. It appears that the ongoing payments required by the family court judge were in the nature of temporary support, and should have terminated at his death. We know of no family court that has the authority to require temporary payments to continue after the death of a spouse. That action, therefore, should be dismissed.

Second, according to the law of most states, if a married person does not provide for a surviving spouse by a will signed after the marriage, the surviving spouse is called an "omitted spouse."

Generally, an omitted spouse gets the same share of the estate — generally, half — that the spouse would have received had there been no will. There is an important exception: If you can prove that your father provided for No. 2 when he transferred the half-interest in the house outside the will, and intended that to be in lieu of a testamentary provision, a judge may find that she is not entitled to more. The claims for services should be dismissed based on what you say happened.

But another issue here is whether the assets involved are worth the financial and time costs of the litigation. Only you can make that decision; however, you and your father's dilemma could have been prevented by appropriate planning, something most folks just don't like to do. But stranger things have happened, and, for that reason, we again point up the need for elderly people who remarry to sign a premarital agreement, which, in your father's case, could have saved a lot of problems.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.

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