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« How Can We Deposit Checks Made Out to My Deceased Father-in-Law? | Main | A Second Marriage Can Disinherit the Children of the First Marriage »

05/01/2009

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I am trying to help my father get everything transferred into my name before his death in order to keep his stepkids from taking all of the money out of his estate.

His wife did not leave a will to his knowledge and the house that he is now living in is not in his name; the house title is in his wife's name who passed away. There is a lien against the house because of a loan from one of her kids and she did not pay it off prior to her death. The kid said he would allow my dad to live there as long as he is alive.

He is afraid the kids from her first marriage will try to take the house and if he does not pay the amount of the lien he does not want it coming out of his assets that are in his name in the event of his death.

So we are trying to get everything put into my name before my father's death; that way they can not go after his assets in order to pay HER debt. How do we get his 401K/IRA ,savings and money market accounts into my name so everything is in my name and not his upon his death?

Since he inherited the house because he was the surviving spouse in the marriage, does he have legal rights in the event that the kids demand him out of the house and put it up for sale? Because he is the one that made all of the house payments when the house was refinanced. She had a lot of credit card and various bills with high interest so they refinanced the house. He was told that once that loan was paid off the title would be changed to show both of their names. But before that happened the loan was sold twice before returning back to the original loan company.

Lynn replies:

If your step-mother left no will, her kids are in much greater danger of being screwed than you or your father.

It's more than likely that, as you say, your father automatically inherited this house as her surviving spouse. If so, he owns it regardless of whose name is still on the deed. If he inherited the house, he presumably also has inherited any liens against it.

But if the lien is against the house, it will be exercised against the value of the house. It cannot be exercised against against your father's IRA or 401(k). So you can tell him to calm down.

As for you, there is no way that you can transfer any of your father's accounts into your name. He is the only person who can give away his assets. But even he doesn't have the legal power to transfer his 401(k) accounts or his IRAs into your name. Nobody does. And a what good thing that is!

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