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CindiWass

funeral expenses if no money with spouse

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There is a situation with a friend whose husband is very secretive. He does not allow her access to bank accounts, she doesn't know what he has and I seriously doubt if he has her as heir because he has children from another marriage. She has very little income on her own -- a very small (less than $500 a month) amount. If he dies and she cannot pay for funeral, how does this work if she cannot afford to bury him? They do own a trailer in a nice trailer park in a resort community.

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Wives have different rights to reject the provisions of a will that excludes them, depending on which state the deceased lived in.

 

In South Carolina the wife is entitled to one-third of the decedent's estate.  The relevant law is:


SECTION 62-2-201. Right of elective share.
(a) If a married person domiciled in this State dies, the surviving spouse has a right of election to take an elective share of one-third of the decedent's probate estate, as computed under Section 62-2-202, the share to be satisfied as detailed in Sections 62-2-206 and 62-2-207 and, generally, under the limitations and conditions hereinafter stated.    . . .

 

The executor of the decedent's will or administrator. if there is no will, would be required to pay disposal fees out of the estate.

 

Are you questioning what might happen if the parties were to divorce or separate or are you interested in what would happen when the husband dies?

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3 hours ago, RetiredinVA said:

Wives have different rights to reject the provisions of a will that excludes them, depending on which state the deceased lived in.

 

In South Carolina the wife is entitled to one-third of the decedent's estate.  The relevant law is:


SECTION 62-2-201. Right of elective share.
(a) If a married person domiciled in this State dies, the surviving spouse has a right of election to take an elective share of one-third of the decedent's probate estate, as computed under Section 62-2-202, the share to be satisfied as detailed in Sections 62-2-206 and 62-2-207 and, generally, under the limitations and conditions hereinafter stated.    . . .

 

The executor of the decedent's will or administrator. if there is no will, would be required to pay disposal fees out of the estate.

 

Are you questioning what might happen if the parties were to divorce or separate or are you interested in what would happen when the husband dies?

No. Only interested in what happens if husband dies. She doesn't even know what money he has in the bank. He doesn't tell her. If he has bank accounts and I know for a fact she is not listed on any of them, and let's say he wills something to his daughter rather than his current wife, it would probably make sense for her not to tell the other family members that he died. 

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When he dies his wife will be entitled to one third of his estate even if he has a will that disinherits her.  That will not apply to any particular item that he owns.  

 

33 minutes ago, CindiWass said:

it would probably make sense for her not to tell the other family members that he died. 

 

Not really clear what you mean by this.  If the trailer and accounts are solely in his name, his wife will not be able to access them or change the title.

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I checked with her. The trailer is in both their names. BUT what happens if he has debts? I truly doubt if his credit cards are in both their names, but I will check with her. What a shame. It's amazing what you find when you open your husband's mail.

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2 hours ago, RetiredinVA said:

When he dies his wife will be entitled to one third of his estate even if he has a will that disinherits her.  That will not apply to any particular item that he owns.  

 

 

Not really clear what you mean by this.  If the trailer and accounts are solely in his name, his wife will not be able to access them or change the title.

What do you mean that the 1/3 portion will not apply to any particular item he owns.

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2 hours ago, RetiredinVA said:

Not really clear what you mean by this.  If the trailer and accounts are solely in his name, his wife will not be able to access them or change the title.

No, but wouldn't they work into his estate? If, for instance, he left whatever he had in those accounts to his children, isn't that considered part of his estate?

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You are asking if the wife could fail to advise the step children their father had died to prevent them from inheriting from his estate.  The trailer will undoubtedly become the wife's property when the husband dies if it is held in both names.  If it is held jointly in both names it will not be part of his estate.  To legally access bank accounts that are not in joint names the wife would have to qualify as administrator of the husband's estate.  That would require notice to the step children.  If she were to try to remove the money from the bank accounts by forging his name to checks after he dies, that could subject her to ciminal prosecution as well as civil action.

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17 hours ago, RetiredinVA said:

You are asking if the wife could fail to advise the step children their father had died to prevent them from inheriting from his estate.  The trailer will undoubtedly become the wife's property when the husband dies if it is held in both names.  If it is held jointly in both names it will not be part of his estate.  To legally access bank accounts that are not in joint names the wife would have to qualify as administrator of the husband's estate.  That would require notice to the step children.  If she were to try to remove the money from the bank accounts by forging his name to checks after he dies, that could subject her to ciminal prosecution as well as civil action.

I know she wouldn't forge any signature. I am just wondering if the bank account, even though it's his bank account -- is not part of his estate? That's what you seem to be saying. 

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How did you conclude I was saying his bank account is not part of his estate?  Everything he owns at the time of his death that is not owned jointly with someone else is part of his estate, including his bank accounts.  What I am trying to tell you is that only the executor or administrator of his estate can legally deal with his assets after he dies.  So his wife or children cannot access his bank account without becoming the personal representative of his estate.

 

Note, however that the husband may have his children on his accounts as co-owners.

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11 hours ago, RetiredinVA said:

How did you conclude I was saying his bank account is not part of his estate?  Everything he owns at the time of his death that is not owned jointly with someone else is part of his estate, including his bank accounts.  What I am trying to tell you is that only the executor or administrator of his estate can legally deal with his assets after he dies.  So his wife or children cannot access his bank account without becoming the personal representative of his estate.

 

Note, however that the husband may have his children on his accounts as co-owners.

I was wondering if the bank account, if left to his children as heirs, could be withdrawn by the children if they were notified, without the wife's knowledge. So let's say I decide to leave some money to a charity, and that's what I have on the account. Since I know little to nothing about these things, does that mean the charitable organization would have to go through the executor? Or probate court if i have not appointed an executor?

But getting back to my friend's problem: you're saying the bank would have to have permission of the executor of the estate, otherwise 1/3 of that account is the wife's?

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11 hours ago, RetiredinVA said:

How did you conclude I was saying his bank account is not part of his estate?  Everything he owns at the time of his death that is not owned jointly with someone else is part of his estate, including his bank accounts.  What I am trying to tell you is that only the executor or administrator of his estate can legally deal with his assets after he dies.  So his wife or children cannot access his bank account without becoming the personal representative of his estate.

 

Note, however that the husband may have his children on his accounts as co-owners.

Yes, that is certainly possible. If that is true, again -- would she still be eligible for 1/3 of any of that? (This is getting complicated...) 

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If someone has a joint bank account, upon the death of one party, the other party gets the money. How else would you expect the money in the account to be separated out? If this guy has joint accounts with his children, the children don't have to do a thing to access the money upon his death, just as they don't need to do anything to access the money now. I can't imagine any charity would open a joint account with you so your example is meaningless.

 

If he and he alone is on the account, and no provisions have been made for the account to go to anyone in particular upon his demise, the money in the account becomes part of the estate and may only be accessed once and by the court appointed executor.

 

However they handled finances when they married, if this guy is expected to pass soon, it would behoove your friend to talk to her husband (novel idea) and find out if there is a will, what assets exist, etc. It isn't super uncommon for couples with children from a prior marriage to keep their assets somewhat separate. It is a little weird she never insisted on knowing what those assets were at least.

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If the wife gets 1/3 of the estate, then I guess a joint account with someone else doesn't factor into this.

I don't think I asked about a joint account with a charity, I was saying to LEAVE IT on the account to a charity.

She's been trying to talk to him, and he won't talk about it. Sad but true. 

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2 hours ago, ElleMD said:

If someone has a joint bank account, upon the death of one party, the other party gets the money. How else would you expect the money in the account to be separated out? If this guy has joint accounts with his children, the children don't have to do a thing to access the money upon his death, just as they don't need to do anything to access the money now. I can't imagine any charity would open a joint account with you so your example is meaningless.

 

If he and he alone is on the account, and no provisions have been made for the account to go to anyone in particular upon his demise, the money in the account becomes part of the estate and may only be accessed once and by the court appointed executor.

 

However they handled finances when they married, if this guy is expected to pass soon, it would behoove your friend to talk to her husband (novel idea) and find out if there is a will, what assets exist, etc. It isn't super uncommon for couples with children from a prior marriage to keep their assets somewhat separate. It is a little weird she never insisted on knowing what those assets were at least.

When I got married and I saw my husband getting all kinds of mail, I decided to open his mail. Period. And I saw things that astounded me. We spoke about it, and he made some changes. But her marriage is different, and sad. She cannot support herself, he doesn't beat her up, he just does nothing in general to help. I am not sure if she had money to do so if she would live separate from him.

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There isn't a thing you can do about how the two of them conduct their marriage. It is up to her whether or not she wishes to continue the marriage or to seek the answers from him as to his finances and estate plans.

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9 hours ago, ElleMD said:

There isn't a thing you can do about how the two of them conduct their marriage. It is up to her whether or not she wishes to continue the marriage or to seek the answers from him as to his finances and estate plans.

That's true, except we were discussing funeral arrangements, and so that got her to asking her husband about them, and then I was wondering. And then I have some questions about my own arrangements, getting answers from the company I bought the policy from is difficult.

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