Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Connecticut

My Stepfather�s estate is quite large, I don�t know exactly how much, but it is several million. He has been married to my mother for the past 28 years. His first wife passed and he has two adult children living. My mother has taken excellent care of him including nursing him thru numerous illnesses, strokes and accidents. He is leaving her only a small amount of money (around $200 thousand in cash), the house and car, and that is all. The rest of his estate he has hidden in his children�s names. A new will was drawn up a few yrs ago and my mother was never allowed to see it, so she does not know what changes he may have made?

Also he borrowed $50,000 out of her portion for a business venture and told her he would replace it? She has no idea if he has done so? He tells her he has NO estate now because it�s all in the kids names?

Question�In the state of CT, a surviving spouse is entitled to 1/3 of the estate? As this money is cleverly disguised and hidden can she legally claim 1/3 of the estate that she is entitled to after 28 yrs of marriage and service, she is 88 yrs old and has no idea how she is going to live?

Asked on 3/23/12, 5:31 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Heffernan Heffernan Legal Group, LLP

In CT a surviving spouse can elect to take A LIFE USE of 1/3 of the estate. She doesn't get the 1/3 outright. If he's given away his money before he dies, too bad. If he hasn't given it away yet, the only way she can get at it is to divorce him.

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Answered on 3/23/12, 8:30 am

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