2. Talk to your estate lawyer about a trust for your daughter, should she still be a minor at the time of your death. Make separate wills and keep them with your attorney; it’s not a job for relatives.
3. You need to change the beneficiary on the actual policies. Under federal law, your husband will need to sign a waiver to relinquish his claim to your 401(k).
Let channel my inner “Dear Abby.” It drives some of this column’s readers up the wall, but I just can’t help myself, and this column is just as much about relationships as money. So bear with me: If you are in a happier place in your marriage and you wish to remain so and/or find higher, more stable ground as you move ahead with your lives, I do have some suggestions.
Be transparent about your plans. If your husband discovers you changed the beneficiaries on your IRA account, it may erode the trust you have built up in recent times. An erosion of your trust today can lead to an unraveling of your relationship and bank balance tomorrow. Massachusetts is not a community property state, so if you split your assets would not necessarily be divided 50/50.
How did you find out about his will? Did he tell you? How did it make you feel when you discovered that? I’m glad you’re in a happy or happier place, but I also implore you to question your motivations. While I agree that it’s a good idea to make sure your daughter is looked after, I don’t believe it’s a good idea for you to do this unilaterally. It’s time to discuss your end-of-life plans together.
Having such discussions about inheritance is good practice for you both. It also indicates that you are planning to spend your old age together. I wish you many more happy days.
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