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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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