Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

# 57. They don't seem to understand our issues

Leaving your spouse out of your will
legal cartoon, lawyer, attorney, testimonial, Paul Brennan
Dear John

My spouse is devoted to me but I worry that in grief at my death, my spouse will fall easy prey to some fortune hunter. Of course, I would not begrudge some happiness after my passing but what if my spouse dies and leaves everything to this chancer’s children?
Southend, UK
Dear P.M.
Whether you have worked hard to earn it, had the good fortune to have someone leave it to you, or just spent the last 40 years bored witless watching your spouse amass it, your concern is understandable.
We all from time to time consider leaving our money directly to our children expecting our spouses to understand. They generally don’t. In fact, they expect the children to see sense and renounce their windfall whereas your children naturally decide to respect your wishes.
If you adopt this strategy there are risks:
  • You can expect your spouse to sue the estate. Such cases often settle but only after acrimonious affidavits full of accusations about your sanity, bad temper and slovenly habits. Fortunately, this is all done in confidence, it is not as if your neighbours and friends get to read the unpleasant detail, unless of course they are called as witnesses.
  • I would suggest that you make your own funeral arrangements just in case your spouse decides to cut a few corners.
  • Above all, you must not allow your spouse to know of your intentions in case they decide to do the same thing. Whereas they need to be saved from themselves you probably feel that you can be trusted to leave the money to your kids unless of course they marry unwisely or forget to call you on your birthday.
To look on the bright side, you are usually long gone before the fighting starts. But, if you cannot stand to have your memory besmirched in this manner but still fear your money ending up with the wrong person there really is only one option: don’t go.

I hope this helps.

Extract from John Fytit’s International Problem Page. (c) Paul Brennan 2009.

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