Q: If you remarry in Alabama who do you leave your house to? Your new spouse or your kids from a previous marriage?
A: The basic answer is that a person may leave their home to the beneficiary of their choice, be it a new spouse or children from a previous marriage. However, when a person remarries and does not have a prenuptial agreement, the surviving spouse will have certain rights in the estate of the deceased. It is important to have an awareness of these default rights when planning an estate. For example:
1. A surviving spouse can remain in the home during the course of the administration
2. A surviving spouse can claim certain expenses and exemptions (resulting in a monetary award from the estate)
3. A surviving spouse can claim an "elective share" and receive one-third of an estate
In order to avoid disputes at the death of the home owner, I would recommend crafting an estate plan involving the new spouse. It may even warrant a post-nuptial agreement to confirm what is supposed to happen at the death of either spouse.
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