Protecting inheritance from a gold-digging step parent

It may not suit to be counting your chickens before they’re hatched.

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From the June 2014 issue of the magazine.

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Q: My father is marrying a gold digger. How can I make sure my inheritance is protected?

—Worried Willy, Toronto

A: The short answer, according to Toronto wills and estates lawyer Ed Olkovich, is “it’s really none of your business, unless you have a legally enforceable claim to the estate, or your father is not capable of making financial decisions.” For instance, if you put a new roof on the cottage because your father told you that you’d inherit it, then you’d have a claim to get that money back at the time of his death. If, however, you think your dad is being taken advantage of, you could suggest he see a lawyer and get a prenup before he marries his new partner. “But he may not listen to you,” says Olkovich. You can argue that your father isn’t capable of making financial decisions but in truth, everyone is presumed to be capable of making their own decisions unless proven otherwise. “This is one time where it really doesn’t pay to count your chickens before they are hatched,” says Olkovich.

Got a delicate money question? Send it to ask@moneysense.ca.

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One comment on “Protecting inheritance from a gold-digging step parent

  1. Truthfully it is really none of your business what your parent does with their money when they die. But it is always important to make sure they at least have a will, cause from experience if they don’t you end up with nothing. The spouse is entitled to almost everything without a will. So encourage them to at least make a new will once they remarry…the previous one is null and void the day they remarry. And definitely don’t count your chickens before they are hatched!

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