My wife’s father left her a home and shared a trust. This subsidizes our lifestyle. Should I try again to convince her to make a will?

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Dear Quentin, I live in Pennsylvania. Four years ago, my father-in-law died leaving a trust for my wife and her two sisters. Each received a vacation home in a trust under a will. My wife and I rent our house, and the proceeds are used to pay for our house and our current expenses. We increase in size after receiving the trust rent.

My wife does not have a will and has not named me as her fiduciary successor in the event of her death. Neither of them has children. The proceeds have been used jointly since the receipt of the trust property. The funds go into a joint account and I handle all financial transactions for our home and rental property. She says that everything will go in my favor, since we have been married for 30 years. Although there have never been any issues with his sisters, I am concerned that if something happened, his sisters might try to claim it as family property and say I have no right to it. I would need that continued income to maintain my current residence, as there is no life insurance and no substantial savings. Am I worried for no reason or should I try to convince you of the need for a will again? Paranoid in PA You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at Dear Paranoid: Most things are good in moderation, even paranoia. You are correct that if your wife is the absolute owner of the home, it would be considered marital property under the law. You are the direct heir to your wife and since you have no children, you would inherit all of your estate. Of course, what happens to the trust funds will depend on the terms of that trust. From what you say, the income from your rental home seems secure. But … It is always recommended to have a will, even if you do not have children, and especially when it comes to matters related to estates and trusts. Avoiding succession is one way to keep your affairs private. You also want to consider establishing a financial power of attorney and medical directive in the event one of you becomes incapacitated and unable to handle your own affairs.

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“‘Avoiding succession is a way of keeping your affairs private.’ ”

“Childless couples who can serve as alternate agents should consider appointing others with whom they have an established relationship, who are trustworthy, and have the experience and ability to handle the responsibilities of being an agent under a financial and / or medical power of attorney. directive, ”according to the McNamee Hosea law firm. “Additionally, as part of their estate plan, they should consider maximizing their legacies by minimizing the income tax implications of retirement benefits,” the company adds. “For example, to the extent that they have charitable intentions, they could designate a charity as the beneficiary of part or all of a retirement account and give other nontaxable assets to other beneficiaries.” As you can see, there are many other reasons why you should put your intentions in writing. If you have a complicated estate, probate can take months or even longer, especially if there are people who decide they are entitled to a slice of the pie. There is no explanation for the reassurance, and apparently a second conversation with his wife would help him achieve it. The Moneyist: ‘I cut his hair because he doesn’t pay for a haircut’: My billionaire husband is 90 years old. I have cared for him for 41 years, but it does not help my son. Hello MarketWatchers. Check out Moneyist’s private FB Facebook group, + 1.52%, where we seek answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or comment on the latest Moneyist columns. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, on all media and platforms, including third parties.