LEGAL CORNER: In a blended family, will the children automatically receive our assets, or should we prepare a will?

Published: Jul. 19, 2023 at 1:18 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Legal Corner answers viewers’ civil legal questions.

QUESTION: I married a man who has one child, and I have two. When we die, will the children (adults) automatically receive our assets, or should we prepare a will? We have separate checking accounts.

ANSWER: Not automatically. However, with or without a will, a succession must be filed and a Judgement of Possession issued which will transfer those assets to the children. Without a will, separate property (like the funds in your separate checking accounts) and any other separate property owned by the spouses will not automatically go to the surviving spouse and his/her children, but rather to the children whose parent is deceased. All community will be divided amongst the adult children equally. In these types of blended family units, both spouses should prepare a will to make the transition of assets easier for the heirs. (CCA 880 et seq)

QUESTION: When my Husband and I got married, I was completely healthy. After years together, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. My husband has filed for divorce and wants to sell the house we share. It is handicapped-accessible and has made my life a whole lot easier. My question is, what are my rights since I came into this marriage a healthy person? However, by no fault of my own, I am fighting this illness. Are there any laws that protect people in my situation?

ANSWER: Let’s talk about your rights as it pertains to the house. If the house is community property, then of course, as one-half owner of the house, you could pay him his one-half interest in the home and keep the house, or rental payments to him may become required. You may be entitled to permanent spousal support. However, before the court can proceed to allow or disallow final spousal support, you would be required to provide evidence of financial need and how much support you are requiring. After hearing the demand for support, the judge will evaluate several factors to analyze whether support is to be provided or not. These are some, but not all, of those factors: (CCA 112)

  • When a spouse has not been at fault prior to the filing of a petition for divorce and is in need of support, based on the needs of that party and the ability of the other party to pay, that spouse may be awarded final periodic support.
  • The earning capacity of the parties.
  • The health and age of the parties.
  • The duration of the marriage.

We certainly recommend that you speak with an Attorney for further assistance. All the best to you.