Although this might put some strain on your relationship, you should suggest your “single” parent see an estate planning or elder law attorney. A recent Consumer Reports article is rather blunt - "Is Dad (or Mom) dating a gold digger?" The article discusses the many issues that may arise when your single parent starts to date.
This meeting with your parent and an estate planning or elder law attorney can help dad or mom organize his or her financial documents and assets. In turn, this can go a long way to easing everyone’s mind, including a new potential spouse. The attorney likely will want to know whether your parent has a power of attorney in place, and will ask questions to ensure that the assets are identified before any estate plan is implemented.
If your single parent decides he wants to remarry, the attorney may recommend a prenuptial agreement. This legal document can designate who will get what if the marriage fails or if either spouse dies. Also, in most states, a new spouse can receive an “elective share” of his or her spouse’s estate, even if the estate plan leaves everything to someone other than the surviving spouse.
A prenuptial agreement may trump these elective share laws, but it is not automatic. For starters, your parent and the intended new spouse must each have their own legal representation to create and review the agreement. If the parties use only one attorney, either party may cry foul successfully later on.
Alternatively, your parent can elect to leave something to you and any other children from a previous marriage by setting up an irrevocable trust. Your parent can even make provision for the new spouse, by providing income, principal or both. There are many other options to explore, as well.
You can see that there's a lot to cover! Have your single parent speak to an attorney sooner rather than later.
Reference: Consumer Reports (April 09, 2014) "Is Dad (or Mom) dating a gold digger?"
Our web site fully covers the non-disclosure statement which is applicable to all of our posts. Please visit us at: ball-stuart.com.