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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12573
Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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i have 2 children by first marriage that have made my 2nd husbands

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i have 2 children by first marriage that have made my 2nd husband's life miserable. we have a will that excludes both of them but i am worried that they will try to get something if i die first. i don't want them to contact my husband or bother him in any way. My daughter has followed my husband to the point of harassment. we called the law and when they went to talk to her she told him that we are crazy. My daughter's lies to my mother who believed everything she said, cut me out of about $130,000.00 when she died and both kids settled for $10000.00. My husband has never wanted any of my money, he has worked hard for what he has and I will not put up with any of my family trying to get anything from him. this is a big worry for both of us. Is there anyway for them to break the will? also is there any legal way to sever any family ties with them? they want nothing to do with us in life and i don't want them thinking that they can have anything they want if i die.

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Brandon M. :

Thank you for your question. Tell me a little bit more about your will. Did you draft it yourself, or was it drafted with the assistance of an attorney?

Customer:

it was done with an attorney

Brandon M. :

Do you have any particular reason to believe that the will is vulnerable to a challenge?

Customer:

no i just don't want either of them to try and contest it and up set my husband

Brandon M. :

I understand. Basically, a last will and testament, if validly drafted and executed, cannot be successfully contested. If the terms of the will are not particularly complex, an attorney with even just minimal experience would be able to draft a competent and "bullet proof" document. So if you had the assistance of an attorney when drafting it, that will resolve any concerns about a contest 99.99% of the time. In short, being "family" doesn't trump a testator's right to distribute their estate as they please--either while they are living or after death.

Brandon M. :

The state places great value on the individual's right to distribute their estate as they please. If the testator's intent can be determined, the courts prefer to distribute according to that intent.

Brandon M. :

You also asked about severing family ties. Legally, that is generally not possible. We can legally make it so that a familial relationship is legally irrelevant (such as cutting the person out of the will), but there is no right for a legal determination that someone is no longer family, per se.

Brandon M. :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

I understand that, i am wanting to send them a legal letter stating that they have been excluded and will keep them from contacting my husband. Isn't there any legal way to sever the family tie?

Brandon M. :

There is generally no way to legally sever someone as a family member, per se. You can divorce a spouse, and your kids can be adopted by another parent, but those are the only means of terminating the existence of a family relationship. That said, under the law, the only reason that the parent-child relationship is legally relevant in most circumstances is where one or the other dies without a valid will. So someone might be your adult son or daughter, but that relationship would generally be legally irrelevant if cut out of your will.

Brandon M. :

I say "generally" because there are always some minor exceptions. For example, you cannot legally marry your son.

Brandon M. :

So it would be relevant if you wanted to marry your son, but for purposes of a will, the legal mechanism in place is to just cut the person out of the will.

Customer:

you are not telling me anything that i didn't know. There has to be a way in addition to cutting them out of the will to get them out of my life. if they don't want to be family then they need to go make their own life and leave us alone. they are not entitled to anything

Brandon M. :

I am telling you something that you didn't know: there is not a way to terminate someone as your adult child unless they are adopted. I'm sorry that I don't have better news for you in that regard, but please understand that the laws are written by your law makers, so your frustration is with them. If a family member is harassing you, you can get an order of protection (a restraining order) against them, which criminalizes contact, but they will not cease to be your adult child.

Customer:

i didn't have anything before i married my husband, he had everything so 98% of the estate is his, can he disown them?

Brandon M. :

Your present husband never adopted the children of your first marriage, correct?

Customer:

yes

Brandon M. :

Well, you can't disown what you don't own in the first place :-) A step-parent and adult step-child have no legal relationship to one another--just the family member in common.

Customer:

goodbye

Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12573
Experience: Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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