If my father owns property and gets married, how can he protect his property?

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If my father owns property and gets married, how can he protect his property?

What should my dad do if he owns property and is about to get married? He

wants to leave his apartments to his children. Would everything automatically go to his spouse if anything happens to him? What should be in place? Is a Will sufficient if there is a surviving spouse?

Asked on May 24, 2018 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You cannot completely disinherit a spouse in Florida (or in many states, for that matter). Without getting lost in the complexities of a very complicated determination, as a rough rule of thumb, no matter what his will says, she will get around 30% of his "estate" if she wants--that is, around 1/3 the value of everything he leaves behind, including the apartment. She also may  have the right to keep living there in the apartment after his death, until she voluntarily moves out or the apartment is sold (in which case she will get her 30%, give or take, of the value). If inheritance is a critical issue for him, he may wish to consider *not* marrying. Alternately, it may be possible to protect the apartment by putting it into a trust, but that is a very tricky subject--he should not try to do that himself, but should consult with a trusts and estates attorney.


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