It is always an unfortunate fact of life that you will have to plan for after you’re gone. People want to make sure that their family can be taken care of. That what they’ve worked for in life will be able to help those they love continue on without them. And most importantly they don’t want any conflict in the planning stages of planning their estate or in the distribution of their estate upon their death. Life never goes so smoothly however, and many couples are the example of unforeseen conflicts flaring up.

The life advice column on the Newsday website is often home to disputes between couples and families. One particular issue we’ve seen commonly arising is the planning of a couple’s estate and the effect it can have on their children involved. One particular couple in question submitted their situation to the Ask Amy column on September 26, 2017. The couple had been married for 12 years, and the wife has said that she had experienced nothing but cold behavior from the husband’s sons from a previous marriage. She believes this is the case because it stems from her husband wishes to bequeath a considerable sum in his will to his son and his wife. She is opposed to this because she doesn’t feel that she shouldn’t have to leave money she contributed to their marriage to children that treated her like she didn’t exist. Apparently, after twelve years of marriage, she hasn’t been fully recognized as some sort of maternal grandmother figure in their family. She says that she contributed a large amount of her net worth into her marriage and still wishes to use her money to recognize long-standing and other relationships she has made in her life. The biggest response that Amy gave is that she should convince her husband to reason with his own son to treat his wife better. Amy also suggests seeing an estate planner to get her and her husband’s wish down on paper.

In a situation such as this invisible feeling mother-in-law, there needs to be careful planning that goes into the binding documents of their estate. The estate planning attorneys at Arenson Law Group understand that family dynamics and relationships need to be properly respected when drafting any formal estate plan. As such an intimate topic, it is important to have trust and respect between the participating parties. The last thing anyone wants is conflict, and evidence of disputes before the plan is even finalized is often a foreshadow of larger disputes in the future.

The invisible mother in law should hire an attorney instead of asking Amy. That way she can carefully plan her monetary assets and dispel them where she wants. Marriage is a bond between people, but it doesn’t have to be financial. In this case, separate estates for her and her husband seem like the best option in my opinion.

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