What would you do?

laurels4uMay 6, 2007

I got married a year ago and during that time, I had questioned my husband about the necessary changes that needed to be made on life insurance policies and retirement policies, to which he replied that he had taken care of them all. Eventhough I work full-time, I would never be able to keep our home if something would happen to him and he is fully aware of that. I take excellent care of our home which was a huge investment for us as well as both of our children. I have one from a previous marriage as does he, and I'm the second wife. Last week while speaking to the money market manager, I found out that he lied to me and his mother has been the beneficiary on his policies since his divorce. I immediately informed the manager that new papers needed to be sent to our house to make beneficiary changes. I told my husband I found out and that new papers were on their way. After signing the papers, DH looks at me and very matter of factly snapped at me that I had to take care of his son. His tone and the message that he delivered in that one sentence was enough to make me want to leave him right then and there! It's as if he feels I don't deserve to inherit a part of what he's accrued in a stupid 401K account during our marriage although I have invested my time, money, energy, and my hard earned paycheck into our home, life, and marriage. Furthermore, what really has me blazing red-hot mad is the fact that his mother HATES me and he has openly admitted that his mother would NEVER make sure my daughter and I were taken care of and he knows she would NEVER offer me a dime to keep our home and land, but for 11 months, he did nothing about it. I haven't mailed the beneficiary change back yet and I'm trying to decide if I should or not. I guess his flippant "you have to take of my son" statement keeps playing over and over in my head. What makes it worse is, I've done more for his son than he, his biological mother, or grandmother has, so to imply that I wouldn't tells me that my husband doesn't trust my character. And I'm not quite sure I trust him right now either.

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I have to admit I don't really know much about step kids and how things are set up, but I could see why he would want to make sure that some money is left dirfectly to his son. I wouldn't consider it a personal slight; it's just how things should be done. But, I do think him lying to you about it, and him including his mother when you don't get along, is wrong.

What would happen to his son if something should happen to your husband? What if you get remarried? I take it your husband may feel secure that you would be able to take care of the kids you have together, but that he may not trust his son's mother, and may know that an extra protion should left to him to be able to just get by. Of course, you should be entitled to some of the money from your time together, but I wouldn't fault him for tkaing care of his son. I'd have him talk to lawyer to draw up a specific will you both are ok with, and I wouldn't take take his comments too personally. It sounds like he's just not really not sure how to handle the whole situation.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 11:46PM
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I think if your DH had handled all this in a kinder way, you would feel better about it.

He probably spoke out of real concern about his son, he was probably struck by the aweful thought as to what would become of him, if your DH was not around.

However, I think you may have calmed down now, and maybe you have spoken to him about your fears, and annoyances and that you feel he does not trust you.

Calm talking is what you need.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 3:38AM
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laurels - many women will feel your pain. I need to tell you that a will is what is needed. You both should have them. The will tells the story about how the monies are allocated. I do not know in what state you live, but I do know that a will is MUST. Also, guardianship of the children can be set forth, as well as a separate trustee of the funds due to the children from any proceeds of the estate(s).

People get funny about money. The lying about the beneficiary is not good. Also, are you prepared to be saddled with caring for your husband's son? Doesn't the son have a mother?

Just some thoughts, but get your wills prepared.

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 6:14AM
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Great answers from other posters so far.

I would be upset about the lying myself. I do see your husband's view of wanting his son taken care of,but he should have also wanted you taken care of as well.
Question.Why does he think you wouldnt take care of his son? Do you get along well?
And Labmomma asks a good one.What about step son's mom?

If I were you,I'd approach this like popi said.CALMLY. Tell your husband you understand his concerns,but you thought you two could tell each other anything...and go from there.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 6:28AM
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Thank you all for your terrific advice and kind words because I certainly needed it! I may not be calm yet but know that I will be someday.

SS would go to his biological mother. In our state, if a biological parent dies and the child is not living with the other biological parent, s/he automatically goes with the living parent. There's no getting around it.

SS has taken heat about me from both his mom and paternal grandparents. I've found notes in his bedroom that he hates me. I've never done anything to him to be treated like an outsider in my home by him. DH knows son feels that way and DH knows paternal grandparents despise me, too. Let me add here that they hated his first wife and were a major, driving factor in their divorce.

I have already told DH how I feel about the whole situation and that I had every intention of making sure that SS's college education would be taken care of or receive the amount equal to a college education should he decide not to attend a 4-year university which I would give to his hateful paternal grandparents to monitor. I didn't think that was unreasonable. Or am I wrong in this case?

What about the lying? I thought I made it clear to DH more than once before that I wouldn't tolerate dishonesty but here it is again creeping back in to our lives.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 7:33AM
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I trust that you have every intention of helping provide for his son in case of his death, but the fact is things happen...and it sounds like he won't be in your custody. Maybe there really won't be enough money to go around...maybe the son will take the money you put down for college, withdraw from school, and use it on something else (even drugs)...what then, will you keep sending more? Maybe you'll get remarried and your new husband won't understand why you are forking out money for a child that is not yours when he may have his own kids that need taken care of, etc.... If you have not adopted this child...he needs to specifically be taken care of in a will.

What if you and your husband are in a car accident...your husband dies right away, you die a few weeks later....His son gets nothing and everything goes to your children...because you were the last to die. Trusting you or not is NOT the real issue. I think your husband may be afraid you will get mad and may not understand (which it sounds like you may not) the importance of providing for his son in writing.. and that his first obligation really should be to his children, not you...WILLS and a delegation of money for his son need to be done regardless of how much love or trust there is between you.

If you understand and go with your husband on this fact, I have a feeling he may not feel the need to lie to you about it anymore.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 9:12AM
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How about this?

Caring for son has nothing to do with it;
it's just the first obnoxious comment that he thought of when he got caught, & right now he's smoldering with anger because you caught him.

This is supposed to be a partnership, & if he wasn't willing to be your partner & to embrace you as *his* partner (you know, the one person in whom you can confide, the one who's on your side, the one you *trust*)...
why did he get married?

His loyalty & good intentions are further brought into doubt by the fact that his mother & his son are hateful & disrespectful toward you without any negative input from him.

One thing that would bother me for the rest of my life is the fact that he can change those policies any time he wants:

You'll have to check on them at frequent intervals (in which case your financial advisors & insurance agents are going to think you're an insecure nut), or you won't know for sure whose name is on them until it may be too late.

I wouldn't want to live like that.

I'm so sorry that you're going through this, & I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 12:14PM
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Is the house you share with him a new home for both of you or is it the house with his exwife? Is the house one he had with his son before you came along? Im thinking that if one of these are true then maybe he doesnt see the home as "ours." He sees it at his. As for the 401k, maybe the exwife and that divorce really made him want to protect himself from someone else. I would truely be mad at him right now too. As soon as you can calm down is when you need to speak to him.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 2:17PM
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"Caring for his son has nothing to do with it"

Then exactly what does?

He wanted to leave money to his son regardless of how his son and mother treated his wife and didn't want to get into with his wife because she would feel he was choosing the son over her and not feel as though he trusted her enough....he probably lied to her for the exact reasons of the way she is acting....thinking it is about her and not understanding that a will NEEDS to be drawn up with money left to him regardless of if she likes them or not, or if they treat her badly. It is about a son being entitled to having money left directly to him and not going through a stepmother who doesn't understand that point. I would bet that is why he lied. What, do you think he just has a personal vendetta against his wife? I guess he could have simply forgotten to do it, but then it wouldn't really be a lie, just a mistake.

I can't really say what I would think in the OP's position because I doubt I would ever be in that situation. I would make sure that all children were provided for and WILLS be drawn up even before the marriage. Hopefully, the OP's child is being taken care of upon her death too and not just left to the trust of her husband. And, don't men often have to carry policies for their children as part of their child support? ...Maybe that policy was set up for that reason. You really need to talk to an attorney.

If his son is taken care of in a will or policies, then I doubt there will be any lying on this matter again...If he is not allowed to leave money directly to his son, though, then, yes, I would bet that he 'may' lie again on the matter. You guilted him into signing papers that leave nothing to his son and everything to you, when you know in your heart that is not what he wanted to do... Yeah, that makes for a great marriage and some possible future lying. Don't put your husband in a position to have to lie to you...do the right thing by all the kids.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 2:35PM
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Should have been a pre-nup given the SS and the previous assets. As it is, all this needs to go on the table, be mutually agreed, and be written up. In many (most?) states a will becomes void upon a marriage so it could be that you are both technically intestate and don't know it. Also in many (most?) states a spouse cannot be disinherited without their consent. In any event, this is all pretty basic stuff. Really should be taken care of. If you don't, the state will do it for you if an event occurs and almost nobody prefers that. Sort of re-marriage 101. No need for hostility. Just business. Very common business. Doesn't cost much, but really needs to be taken care of.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 4:24PM
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Maybe its because I am an attorney but I do wonder about a few things. Its too bad it was handled this way, but you have only been married a year and you want his life insurance changed and his retirement policies? Since he had these assets before he was married to you your share couldn't be that much. First of all, he has legal obligations to his child.
The fact that you couldn't keep the house if he died is no surprise to anybody--most young families couldn't. Why would his mother need to take care of you and your daughter? You work and I presume you were self supporting prior to marriage. You have commented that you believe you are entitled to part of his 401 k. Do you have a 401 k or retirement of your own?
Your best security is staying happily married because two incomes can do very well. By demanding your share of the assets this early in the marriage you can make him look at you critically. You would be making me nervous.
I am not aware of any states where a will is void upon remarriage. All that happens is that if a will leaves money to a divorced spouse that share is not inherited by that person. The will usually has back up heirs. A wife may be entitled to a share of some assets.
Certainly you need to see an attorney and both have current wills and Health Care power of attorney.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 5:45PM
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I have apparently betrayed my ignorance of the law as regards this issue. I yield to marge727 and thank her for the correction.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 6:55PM
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Good professional advice from Marge.

I know this may not be relevant, buy why does your in-laws hate you ? Does your DH make a stand about this, (he should), and as for your SS, his father needs to talk about this to him too.

You are this man's wife, more respect to you from your step family. Harmony in the home, cannot flourish with this hostility going on.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 7:43PM
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I did preface my conjecture with "How about this?", which I thought would make it clear that it *is* conjecture.

I think it's a reasonable alternative to the idea that the husband's concern for his son's future is the reason behind lying to his brand-new wife.

Leaving assets to someone whose only "obligation" to use the assets as you wish is your undocumented request is such an irrational idea that it just doesn't sound like the truth.

His behavior just sounds like the behavior of someone who's embarrassed & angry because he got caught.

I do agree that all this should have been discussed & handled prior to the wedding.

People with children should get married only after they've sobered up from that initial starry-eyed romantic intoxication.

If there aren't enough assets to take care of all the survivors if a breadwinning member of a family (husband/wife/both) dies, then more insurance is in order.

Lying about it (& then snarling at your spouse when he/she catches you) is not only bratty & juvenile, it's just not fair to the other adult in the partnership.

& leaving money to your mother, or naming her as beneficiary, does *not* guarantee that your wishes will be honored & your obligations met.

What if his mother gets mad at his ex?

It's been known to happen...

I'm assuming that the original poster has acted in good faith & that she truly is hurt & upset by her husband's sneaky behavior.

It's a partnership:

If you don't want a partnership, don't take one on.

If you don't want to act adult & face your responsibilities in a pragmatic way, don't be surprised or offended when you get caught.

If you get into a partnership & find out (uh-oh) that you like you & your mother as a team better than you & your partner, be an adult & dissolve the partnership.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 7:45PM
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There was no starry-eyed, irrational leap of faith on my part in to my marriage as we had been dating five years before we even got engaged and we had discussed the merging of financial accounts and agreed on one bank account, one 401k, one life insurance policy before we took the plunge so it wasn't as if I was all of a sudden making him nervous about finances. As a matter of fact, he was the one who wanted all of these merged accounts. He is also living with a manageable yet life-threatening disease which he claims will kill him before we even reach retirement age. I'm not being pushy or sneaky about ANY of it. I've had several 401k plans but since I've changed professions twice, went back to school (undergrad), took on a new career that doesn't offer retirement or life insurance, I have nothing other than what I bring home bi-monthly which goes directly to utilities, food, mortgage, and upkeep of our home. I completely agree that what was his when we got married at that point was his, however, from last May until now, I do believe I have a right to. I asked my husband to spell out on the beneficiary designation a percentage to be left to SS and he refused. I believe he did that because he knows that there are other stocks and bonds and life insurance policies out there that he has left in either SS's name or his mother's name, and I don't have any intention of questioning him further about those since he wasn't honest about the retirement in the first place. As for my daughter, my parents and my aunt will take care of her financially if I would die sooner than later. I had cashed in my 401ks to return to school and to survive while I went back to school.

The house that my husband and I bought, we bought together with a down payment that I had saved for years and I'm not about to spell out the closing costs for that here but if you've bought a house lately, then you know it wasn't inexpensive.

DH's parents are controlling and manipulative. I have never done a single thing to either of them and I've put up with their childish behavior since we've begun dating. They actually used to tell my husband when he could visit me, when he was allowed to call me, when he could take my calls, or when to ask me to go to their house to visit or to have dinner (which wasn't often because I wasn't "family").

Anyhow, I will be seeing a lawyer next week about all of this. I had made the call earlier today so thank you to everyone for their input and advice.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 8:42PM
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