Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Missouri

Legally seperated but still legally married

My parents are legally seperated but still legally married. My father has become terminally ill with liver cancer. He has weeks to months to live. He won't and is not able to complete any will or anything like that. So when something happens to me, does my mom still get what is left b/c they are still legally married?

I know this is a horrible thing to ask and think about. But I need to make sure my mom is taken care of. We can't afford to really get legal help. So I really appreciate your assistance. Thank you for your time.

Asked on 9/18/03, 1:21 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Anthony Smith LawSmith

Re: Legally seperated but still legally married

If at all possible, you need to have a local attorney speak with you about this. It may be that your father can execute a Will. Absent any Will or Trust, the answer to your question somewhat depends upon the legal formalities your parents have undertaken. The mere filing of a Divorce Petition should not affect the ditribution of marital property to your mother. She may even be able to make some spousal elections ahead of some creditors. However, you have not provided enough information to tell you exactly what will happen with your father's estate.

Some of the things an attorney would need to know are; What do your mother and father own? Who does your rather owe money to and for what? What death benefits does your father have? You are correct, to the layman, these topics seem odd to discuss while your father is in his condition. However, most attorneys are accustomed to dealing with such delicate circumstances. It is not a matter of life and death that you get a local attorney, but financially speaking it might be almost as important.

Good Luck,

Tony Smith

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Answered on 9/19/03, 3:20 pm

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