How much money do the children get as per the Will?

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How much money do the children get as per the Will?

My father-in-law’s Will states that if my mother-in-law remarries or dies, the house

they bought together, then 50% of the money goes to his kids and $50 goes to her kids. She now she’s sold the house because she could not take care of it any longer. How much money do the kids get since she did not remarry?

Asked on October 1, 2018 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You do not indicate that she (the mother-in-law) passed away. If that's the case--if she is still living--then no one gets anything unless she chooses to give them some. Neither of the criteria you mention (remarries or dies) has occured.
Moreover, it is not clear that even if she had remarried or died, that his children would be entitled to anything. Unless he put the house or money in a trust, or gave the mother-in-law what is called a "life estate" (the right to live there forever, but not complete ownership) and his children a "remainder interest" (the right to the property after she died or voluntarily moved out), he likely could not control what would later happen to property she inherited or otherwise received from him. That is because if the property (e.g. the house) simply became hers on his death, then it was hers to determine what to do with: after another person gets your property, you can't control what they do with it, absent a trust, life estate, or similar legal structure. But simply getting property outright means that it because hers to sell, to gift, to leave (after her own death) to whomever she wanted, etc.
The above is a general answer. The way she acquired the property and the exact provisions of his will could potentially change the answer; bring the will to a trusts and estates attorney to review with you.


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