Often I write about the dangers to your family if you marry a “Gold Digger” if your spouse dies. Without proper planning, a remarriage can dramatically alter the disposition of your assets when you die. In community property states, like Nevada, any assets acquired during the marriage are presumed to be community property such that if there was a death, those community property assets presumably belong to the “Gold Digger.” But not all remarriages fit the stereotype of a poor woman marrying a rich man for his money. My own family is a perfect example.
My grandfather was in a car accident with his second wife where he broke his neck and his wife died. In the hospital he fell in love with a woman who became his third wife. He was 72, she was 65. He lived until he was 94 and this woman stood by him for those 22 years. Those were difficult years for him as his health was never 100% after the accident. She cared for him in every way including cleaning, cooking, shopping, and taking care of him when he couldn’t take care of himself. She was not a Gold Digger. If she received nothing when my grandfather died, that would be an injustice. If she had not cared for him, the children would have had to move to Wyoming to care for him or he would have needed to relocate to one of his children’s homes. She provided the care and the convenience of keeping his life normal.
I often meet with couples where they were married later in life. In my experience the wife is concerned that she will be left with nothing when her husband dies. Often she doesn’t get along with his children for whatever reason. Sometimes she tells me of statements the children have made about kicking her out of the residence when their father dies. She is scarred.
Living Trust planning can be used to protect an innocent spouse. Provisions can be made to ensure she can live in the home until her death and that she is provided with enough money to maintain her lifestyle. Each family is different and the provisions will vary from family to family. But if the provisions are not made clear, the surviving spouse can find herself evicted from her home without enough money to survive comfortably.
I encourage anyone in that situation to use a Living Trust drafted by a competent Las Vegas Living Trust Estate Planning Attorney such as the Law Offices of Gary Fales.