If My Parent Remarried, Will Their New Spouse Inherit Everything?
Oct. 25, 2023
Inheritance can present challenges and disappointments. For example, heirs can sometimes feel cheated during the process, or even disinherited entirely. This can be particularly worrisome for children of a parent who has divorced and remarried. Will the new spouse get everything if my parent dies? Will the children of the new marriage be favored over us from the first marriage? These are natural questions to ask.
A lot, of course, will depend on whether your parent leaves a last will and testament. If there is no will, then something called the law of intestate succession in Florida will determine who gets what.
Either way—with a will or without a will—your parent’s estate will have to go through a legal process known as probate, which can take many months depending on the size of the estate. Probate does allow for challenges to a will, but these challenges have to be based on solid grounds.
For all your questions about wills, probate, inheritance and estate planning in general, contact me at Michael A. Siefert, P.A. As an estate planning attorney, I offer individualized attention and personalized strategies to every single client. In addition to Ocala, I serve clients throughout Marion County.
Dying Without a Will
If your parent remarried, will their new spouse inherit all of your parent’s assets? It depends. If your parent had created a will, it is possible for them to disinherit an adult child in that will. But if your parent died without a will, here is what Florida law says about succession:
If there is no spouse, the children get everything.
If there is a spouse and no children from that marriage but children from a previous marriage, the spouse gets one-half and the children one-half.
If there is a spouse and children with that spouse and from a previous spouse, the same formula holds true: the spouse gets one-half and the children from both marriages get one-half.
In an intestate probate, in other words, the law of succession provides either 100 percent or 50 percent of the estate to the children. Depending on the size of the estate and the number of children, each child’s share can be affected. In other words, if two children share, that’s 25 percent each. If four children share, that’s 12.5 percent each. Note also that adopted children have the same inheritance rights as biological children.
Essentially, if your parent passes away before ever crafting a last will and testament—which is known as dying intestate—then Florida’s laws concerning intestate succession will determine the order of who gets what, and also what percentage. No matter your specific situation, it’s vital to reach out to an experienced attorney for help navigating the process.
Can a Child Be Disinherited in a Florida Will?
One of the major goals of probate is to ensure that the decedent’s financial obligations are all closed out and satisfied before beneficiaries receive what is owed them under terms of the will or under terms of intestate succession. These obligations include all debts and taxes, or anything else owed.
But what if the terms of the will include disinheriting a child?
If a parent creates a will, it is certainly possible for that person to disinherit an adult child (although they cannot disinherit minor children). While there could be a previous legal stipulation arising from a divorce that requires the creator of the will to provide monetary support or a property settlement, the terms of the will are decided by its creator.
The disinherited adult child could decide during probate to challenge the act. He or she could potentially argue that the disinheritance was an error, or that another child exerted undue influence in the writing of the will. That’s why it’s important, if a parent wants to disinherit a child, that that child’s existence be acknowledged in the will and that it be noted that the disinheritance is deliberate.
However, keep this in mind: if the disinheritance stems from the parent’s fear that the child can’t be trusted with money, or will spend it all on drugs or an addictive lifestyle, then there are options by creating a spendthrift trust for that child.
Compassionate Legal Advice
If your parent has remarried and you’re worried about your inheritance rights, it’s natural to feel unsure of where to turn. After all, this is an incredibly emotional time. During this process, remember: you have options. One of these options is to reach out to legal guidance.
Get in touch with me at Michael A. Siefert, P.A. I will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and pursue a path forward for you and your loved ones. For all your estate planning issues in or around Ocala and the rest of Florida, set up a one-on-one consultation with me.