When Someone Dies

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Chapter 1: As Death Approaches
Checklist:
• Who's in charge before the death?
• Does the person have an advance medical directive, also called a durable power of attorney for health care?
• If the person prepared an advance directive/durable power of attorney for health care...
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Q
My father passed and had a living trust and will naming all his children, 4 and step children 3 of which 1 is living, bequeth all his property, assests etc into the family trust. Problem is his 2nd wife, not my mother passed 15 years ago,he did change the trust to just him. He re-married 2 years later. He did not change anything in the trust to this current step mom. Everything is still or is left to the children. This is california, I understand community property and surving spouse, but the house he left was purchased with my first step mom during their marriage not during this 2nd step mom marriage. Trust lawyers are stating that this surviving spouse has right to the house even though it was not purchased with her in fact the deed is only in my fathers name. Im confused on how this could be, why have a will or trust if a person can not leave his or her property to whom they want. We as the children are agreeable to a portion of the house after it sells to the surviving spouse but not certainly half. They were married 13 years. She did not work and father was retired and left his retirement into his trust. Help!!
A

Hi. This is a complicated problem and you need a lawyer. Basically, in many states, irrespective of the will, a person’s spouse is entitled to certain things, including the residence. But you need counsel to make sure that any interest she has is clearly delimited and that ultimately his will prevails. Good luck.

Related Chapter: The Days and Weeks after the Death: Financial Issues

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