Anonymous asked in Business & FinancePersonal Finance · 4 weeks ago

If a woman in her 60s who’s never been married,tells her son that he’s going to be “rich” when she dies, can that change if she gets married?

I quoted the word “rich” because she’s obviously just very well-off, thanks to contributing the max to her 401(k) since her 20s, as well as budgeting and not foolishly squandering in lavish things.

What if she suddenly met a man, and he moves in with her, and they get married?  If she dies first, will her 40-year-old son be stuck taking care of her husband, assuming he has no family nearby?  Will her husband be left with her money, as well as own the house?  Keep in mind her son is her only child, and they are obviously far from strangers — they are mother and son emotionally, not just technically.   

9 Answers

  • 4 weeks ago

    First of all, if your mother has a will, and she's left everything to you, then it doesn't matter if she remarries or not--the will will be upheld and you will get everything. You are not "obligated" to care for her surviving spouse. 

    But if your mother does NOT have a will, and this is what she wants to do, then you need to encourage her to see an attorney immediately and make a will so there is no question who gets what if she passes. She can specify at the time if she wants any surviving spouse to have any part of her estate. After he gets his share, if there is one, then you are still not obligated to care for him. 

    If she dies without a will, he will have a legal right to contest ownership of at least part of the estate, and depending on which state you live in, maybe all of it. Get your info and paperwork done NOW before this happens to be on the safe side. 

  • Amy
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    She can will the money to whomever she chooses.

    If he dies without a will, then in most US states the money will be split equally between the husband and son. 

    If his name was added to the deed of the house, then he could be left as sole owner, separate from inheritance.

  • 4 weeks ago

    401K plans have a beneficiary set by the participant.  If a non-spousal beneficiary is designated the spouse must sign off on that. 

  • 4 weeks ago

    Yes, and it can also change if she doesn't get married.  What she told him doesn't matter.  What matters is what she put in her will, and she can change her will at any time, and doesn't have to tell him.

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  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    Well it's good that she started saving that early, but it really depends on how much she contributed as to how "rich" she is.


    But yes, it could change things. It will depend on how she writes her will or trust. If she would die intestate with no will or trust, then the state decides who the beneficiaries are. In the state where I live the intestate succession for the deceased with a spouse and children who are not that spouse’s children is a 50/50 split.

  • 4 weeks ago

    This can get complicated.

    Generally if a person dies without a will, their spouse at the time of death inherits everything they own

    But the person can write a will designating someone other than their spouse as the beneficiary of some or all of their estate.

    So if the Mother wanted to get married but wanted the son to inherit her money when she dies, she should write a will specifying that. Ideally the will should be notarized as a way of proving it was her - just in case someone such as the spouse or some other distant relative tried to challenge it.

    There's also the issue of beneficiaries on accounts. Most retirement accounts such as her 401k ask for the name of a primary beneficiary. If the owner of the account dies, that account passes straight to the beneficiary regardless of what the will, or state laws say. However, in order for a married person to designate someone other than their spouse as the beneficiary of the account they often have to sign a notarized form. So if she listed her son as the beneficiary of her 401k then later got married and never updated the account info its possible that the spouse could challenge it in court and have a case.

    The best and most bullet proof way she can ensure that her son gets her money is as follows:

    1. Write a pre-nuptual agreement with her spouse prior to marriage agreeing that assets they own before marriage are NOT joint property and will pass to their respective children upon either of their deaths.

    2. Write a will naming the son as the sole beneficiary of all of her assets, and even specify in the will that she does NOT intend for her spouse to inherit any portion of her estate.

    3. Re-verify and reconfirm that the son is listed as the primary beneficiary on all major accounts such as her 401k. Make sure she updates this after the wedding to clearly indicate that even after marriage she still intends for the son to be the beneficiary. Follow any requirements the account manger/broker sets for people who are designating a beneficiary other than their spouse.

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    Yes it can change.

    Mom can change her will at any time.    

    Mom could also end up in a memory care unit that drains every nickel she has.

    Children are not owed an inheritance.  Even if parents WANT to leave their kids an inheritance, sometimes it doesn't work that way. 

    No, the son isn't obligated to care for mom's husband. 

  • Judy
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Th son will not have to take care of th husband.  Mom's will will say who gets what.  If sh has no will, stat law will decid.  Son might gt nothing.

  • 4 weeks ago

    If she dies and didn’t leave a will then everything goes to her husband. 

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