What is the customary amount to leave to a new spuse, when you have children by a previous marriage?.

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What is the customary amount to leave to a new spuse, when you have children by a previous marriage?.

I have been remarried 3 years to a wonderful person. I have sold property, I am torn between leaving an amount for the new spouse and what amount to leave to my children. The amounts were obtained before second marriage.

Asked on June 11, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There really is no customary amount, it's what in your judgement you feel to be appropriate.    

That having been said, Alabama does allow for what is known as an "elective share", this is basically the right of the surviving spouse to claim a statutory minimum of the estate.  I've provided you with a link that explains further: 

 https://law.justia.com/alabama/codes/30792/43-8-70.html

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There really is no "customary" amount for this.  Different people have different feelings about this; after all, some parents don't get along with their adult children at all, while others feel very strongly that everything they have should go to their children.

I'm not an Alabama lawyer. Many states, though, have a law that allows a widow to get what is sometimes called an "elective share" of the estate, a certain minimum inheritance, no matter what the will says, if she and the deceased husband were living together when he passed.  It makes common sense to see that your will would give her at least that much.

There are other ways to deal with this.  One of these is a trust, which can be used in a number of ways.  People in your situation sometimes do this to allow their widow to have the use of property, such as a house, the income from a bank account or stocks, or both, for as long as she lives, and then have it go to their children after the widow passes.

You should have a wills and estates lawyer in your area explain how all of these things work, so that you can get good advice based on all of the facts of your family and financial situation.  One place to find a qualified attorney is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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