Stepson Inherits Millions Because Divorce Not Finalized While Stepfather Alive

Here’s a local Palm Beach County case that powerfully illustrates why couples entering subsequent marriages may wish to enter prenups if they have children from previous marriages.

The subsequent marriage was quite lengthy and the couple amassed many millions in assets. The marriage fell apart and there was a vigorous dispute over the assets.

Before a property settlement agreement was finalized, the husband died in an accident.

The wife then contended that the divorce proceedings should be terminated – a position well supported by law.

The husband’s family contended that a temporary agreement should be made permanent.

Although permanent agreements often do turn out quite similarly to permanent agreements, it doesn’t have to happen that way. And temporary agreements are – by definition – temporary, that is, only intended to govern during the divorce case.

The trial court adopted the husband’s argument. The wife appealed and later passed away. But the appeals court just ruled in her favor.

So what happens to all those millions the husband made?

They will be inherited by the wife’s son from a previous marriage.

Even parents with more modest estates agonize over the prospect of their own children being similarly disinherited in favor of a subsequent spouse’s children from a previous marriage.

There’s a moral here: this “surprise” outcome could have been easily avoided with just a little premarital planning.

Read more in this Palm Beach Post article: Widow wins money battle posthumously.