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Ask Shade: He Left Everything to His children From a Previous Marriage! How Do I Secure My Child’s Future?

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Ask ShadeDear Shade,

I’m in my early 30s engaged to a widower in his 50s. We plan to get married in a few months and I‘m already pregnant. While cleaning his study last week, I stumbled on something that looks like his Will and it seems like he already willed everything to the three children from his previous marriage. Since then I’ve been worried about my unborn children. What would be their fate? What if something suddenly happened to their father, will they have anything from him? How can I be sure what I found is really his valid Will? Since I’m already carrying his child, I am contemplating asking him to write another Will. The document I found dated back to 2009, what of assets he has acquired after he wrote this Will? Please advise me, how can I secure my children’s future?
Fikayo, Lagos

***
Hello Fikayo,

I completely understand and empathize with your situation as it could be quite a challenge bringing up the issue of Wills with your fiancé considering the fact that you are not yet married to him. It is only natural that you are concerned about the security of your children’s future, given the prevailing circumstance. Your concerns are valid and thinking about an update of your fiancé’s estate plan is the way to go.

The details you provided about the document you stumbled upon are hardly enough for me to ascertain if it is indeed your fiancé’s Will. However, even if it is not his Will, it is likely an indication that a Will exists, and your fiancé is knowledgeable and intentional about estate planning. I think you should find a little relief in this fact, it gives you a good pedestal to start the conversation about an amendment and all that.

It should interest you to note that the Wills Law of Lagos State makes it necessary for your fiancé to make provisions for all his dependents in a Will which would include your unborn child and subsequent children. In the event that he refuses to make the appropriate provision, he must state a reason or reasons for his refusal. You should also be aware that since you are not yet married to him you do not outrightly become his dependent, the baby notwithstanding.

If all else is in place, you should focus on getting married as the marriage will confer on you rights as a dependent and give you the needed standing to discuss his succession plan. Once married statutorily-that is marriage done through a marriage registry, all prior Wills written by your husband (including his 2009 Will) would become invalid according to the provisions of the Wills Law. He would therefore need to rewrite his Will based on the statutory marriage with you.

Should there be any fatality to your husband after your marriage without him rewriting his Will, you would be entitled to all his personal belongings (items like clothes, jewelry, watches etc) and one-third of his estate according the Administration of Estate Law while his children would be entitled to two-thirds of the estate. These unspecific distributions could however be likely cause of dispute amongst family members due to valuation and sharing issues relating to the Assets. Should the unfortunate occur before your wedding, the child should still be considered his dependent.

I understand that the subject of Wills may appear to be a bit emotional, but I would recommend that you subtly encourage your fiancé upon marriage to re-write his Will so that the intestacy rules are prevented and the beneficiaries’ gifts are clearly stated to reduce dispute amongst family members. You should also consider writing your Will if you do not have one.

Thanks to everyone who has reached out to me with their concerns. If you would like to have your question featured, please email your question to [email protected] ARM has a new and easy way for people to get started on their last will and testament. The Easy Will portal  is designed to take the stress off getting a Will. In a few clicks, interested people can now easily get a valid and secure Will online. Have a look here.

Warm regards,

Shade

Folashade has a wealth of experience in legal structuring, capital markets, and financing transactions. Her expertise also spans Private Trust, and other succession/estate planning alternatives. Currently, she is Managing Director of ARM Trustees Limited, a subsidiary of the ARM Group charged with asset protection, wealth transfer and generally, succession and estate planning.

19 Comments

  1. Deleke

    June 5, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Don’t worry it is prolly old, when your children come he will update it.

  2. Anne

    June 5, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Na wa o. Man must be wise o.

  3. Diamond

    June 5, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    You are not yet married to him, and his 2009 will bothers you. Ms, you really have no business marrying a widower with children, you should waited until you found yourself a very single man. But since you are already pregnant for a widower, I advise you thread with caution. Asking him about a will he didn’t show you is suspicious and makes you look interested in his wealth, or will you also tell him what to write for you and your kids in it. You didn’t tell him to write the will, so just relax and be good to him and his children, he will do the right thing.

    • still wealthy

      June 5, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      Ms Diamond, do you realize that early 30s is an adult and can freaking marry whoever she so desires to??? The fiance in question is a widower and not a divorce… So who should marry a widower? Or who can marry a widower Judgemental Jane ??? Please get off your high horse!!!

      We have laws but dont follow it…

    • Mama

      June 5, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      I don’t believe Diamond is saying she is wrong to be marrying a widower. Rather from what I got, she is saying you can’t be marrying a widower with children and be worrying about his 2009 will. Her advice is for the lady to open her eyes and be wise because she is getting into a situation that will require patience and wisdom. I think it is good advice if my interpretation is correct.

    • Diamond

      June 6, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Mama, you are absolutely correct. I have no issues with people marrying who they love, be it single, widowed or divorced. But when marrying a man with children, you need the right temperament for that family… you need plenty of love in your heart, and from what I read up there Ms needs to work and build hers. Another thing, not only is asking him about his will is suspicious, insisting on a court marriage is suspect too (obviously, you want to secure wealth over his first kids). And he is most likely to refuse you considering you are already pregnant. Just be good, and he will reward you kindly.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 7, 2018 at 11:00 pm

      My own is that I’m even wondering why she’s so upset that a widower she met with children, has decided to will the property he has acquired (all before he met her, I might add) to those children.

      Aunty, why are you upset? You weren’t there when he labored to acquire them, you don’t even know if it was property he inherited from his deceased spouse…. I’m just a little bemused that we as women tend to walk into a man’s life and then want to lay claim to all he has worked for before we arrived.

      How to secure your children’s future? Nwa nne m, please start working towards that security you’re worried about. What did you have before you met him? Did you already start thinking of your children’s future as a single woman? Ladies, it’s not only a man’s job to plan for the well-being of our unborn children oh. Young women especially, when you’re praying to God to bring husband and bring children, I hope to goodness that you’re also preparing to have those children. Let’s stop believing this fallacy that providing is a man’s job – God gave you the means as well to generate a little sum’n sum’n to start keeping to the side in a fund for your children.

  4. Lol

    June 5, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Very good advice by the lawyer. She’s a solid lawyer… wow. I de go find her abeg. See as she break everything down making cooler heads prevail and helping you with strategy. Wait to marry first before trying to fight for property.

  5. jah rule

    June 5, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    madam what makes you believe that you will outlive your husband …what if its the other way around?? you better start making your own personal provision for your kids as well … I’m sure your husband will include his other child when it comes ..for me I’m not waiting for what my husband will “leave behind”…..im quietly making my own provision..little by little for my kids

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 7, 2018 at 11:04 pm

      God Bless You.

      And may He continue to Honor and Reward the efforts of your hands.

      My women, WORKKKKK ohhhhh! Even if it’s to be taking savings and putting them in small-small investments here and there to release small interest you can be putting in a nest egg. Your children deserve to be planned for, God forbid that anything should happen and you’ll be telling them it’s one man’s fault that they don’t have inheritance. Umu nwanyi, please it’s 2018, you can’t be sitting down idly and waiting for one man’s will.

  6. Marlee

    June 5, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    She is selfish. What if his deceased wife work so hard for her kids. Should her property not go to her orphans. Is she planning to put her step kids in her own will. Woman, pls work for yourself. In my 40 I have two property for my two kids. I don’t even care what their father will give them.

  7. Osa

    June 5, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    One of the very low points of a woman marrying a much older man. There is always some wahala baggage especially when it comes to inheritance

    • Anne

      June 6, 2018 at 1:18 am

      Wives; Home maker, career, office, director e.t.c. Please save money, that is all I can say. Many old illiterates saved money. Some of them got into real estate i.e buying and selling land. Others just sold in the market square. My grand aunty had 1 million naira under her pillow after her death. My mum was building a house. Please pregnant woman, don’t over burden him about his will. Pray and ask for wisdom regarding how to project your issue. Men get edgy when you want to discuss matters regarding their will. Professional advice is technical and Folasade has done a good job. Emotional matters are different o, that one is not Folasade’s job o. She has done her part giving you all adequate knowledge. Approaching him is different o. I beg pray to the Lord first so that your approach does not actually prevent you from getting what you want..

  8. Nonso

    June 6, 2018 at 1:18 am

    Or about you have your own money so you don’t have to worry about things like this.

  9. nnenne

    June 6, 2018 at 2:04 am

    Gurl, you are not even married but worried about your man’s wealth. Investment that he probably built with his dead WIFE!
    Without putting in any work, you want to share!
    Do you realize that some men started from day one with their wives?
    As you calculate for the man’s death, did it occur to you that you may die before him?
    Death does not always go with age!
    Please relax ,put in some work before planning to reap where you did not sow!

    • Abi

      June 6, 2018 at 11:40 am

      very well said. You don’t know how much work he and his late wife did to acquire their wealth yet because you got pregnant for him, you are already planning on how to secure your future. Is that why you are getting married to him? How about contribute towards making his estate bigger and also acquire wealth for yourself?

  10. OJ

    June 6, 2018 at 2:16 am

    This one is already thinking about will….no go find job make your own money. I’m sure the man is wealthy and she wan chop from that money shaaa…reaping where you did not sow

  11. bubu

    June 6, 2018 at 9:44 am

    @still wealthy you never talk wetin de give you pepper body oh.
    me i dont understand the babe. were you his side chick as at 2009. u never born pikin u de cry about will. abi people don de write will put galfriend ni? if this is property built with at least 50% contribution of the late wife do you really think he should disposes her children bcos of your golden unborn child. haba. what make you think he will not provide for you and ur child when born. did you marry this widower just for inheritance. marry him first. if inheritance is so important to you, save from ur allowance and buy property for ur baby. open a mutual funds account and start putting some funds away monthy. also stop and think if you were him, his late wife or the other kids, what would do or expect.

  12. Manny

    June 8, 2018 at 3:42 am

    This is why I don’t support joint assets except the house a couple jointly lives in. What I have goes to my kids. What he has goes to his kids. If my kids are his only kids, fine. If he has other kids apart from mine, fair.
    Look at this woman coming in now, She doesn’t know if the property in the said Will belonged to his dead wife or if it was jointly acquired. She only cares that her kids are taken care of, which is not bad in itself.

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