Jurisdiction in in the USA . I do have children and want them to have my assets should my wife remarry and --pass away-- and not to her second spouse. We are writing our will out and someone mentioned to us that if either one of us should remarry and die - any assets would go to the surviving spouse instead of to our children. I want my assets to stay within our current family and want to know of a legal way to do this.

2 Answers 2


Don’t give them to your wife

A bequest is a gift and gift’s can’t have conditions subsequent (conditions precedent are OK - like the one where you have to be dead first). It’s a funny thing, but when you no longer own something you no longer get a say in what happens to it.

So you have two options:

  1. Trust your wife to do the right thing by her kids after you’re gone.
  2. Bypass your wife and give your stuff to your kids directly. You can set up a trust with a trustee you trust and rules for them to follow until your kids are old enough to manage the wealth themselves.

And one essential requirement:

  1. Hire a lawyer.

Someone I know has a trust from their parents that says they can use the money during their life for their needs (and lists a fairly comprehensive set of examples) and upon her death the remainder goes to their children. I think you can has some control over what happens to your money after you die.

Your attorney may be able to structure a trust like that where the surviving spouse does not the money outright but through a trust with provisions you desire relative to any remainder going to your children. I assume you want this to be symmetric - your second (or N+1th) wife not getting the family's wealth.

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