According to research, as many as 42 million American adults have married more than once! This number has almost tripled since the 1960s. If you’re also on the list and have remarried, you need to make a few changes to your estate planning too.
Here’s what estate planning means for a blended family:
A Simple Will Won’t Probably Help.
After your death, your spouse has no obligation to your biological children. They could be easily cut out of their estate. If you’ve left everything to your spouse, be wary of the fact that they could easily cut out your children and leave the assets for their children instead. They could also bequeath the assets to their new spouse or anyone else that they like.
The point is that a standard will won’t cut. When you’re planning your estate, you must consider the possibility of your spouse remarrying after you’re gone. You would have to specify the beneficiaries very clearly. Another option is to consider a trust that initially leaves the asset to your spouse and later passes them on to your children after your death. This will ensure that your spouse can access the funds while they’re alive, but they pass on to your children after their death.
Your healthcare decisions could lead to a lot of disagreements and disputes if you’ve remarried. You need to specify whether your agent should be your surviving spouse of one of your biological children. If you’re hospitalized, then your spouse could prevent your children from visiting you in the hospital and vice versa. Think about this in detail before making the final decision. You can also seek help from an estate planning attorney.
Figuring out your child’s legal guardianship is also a part of estate planning. If you pass away without a clearly written will or pre-need Guardianship document, then your children’s custody arrangementmay not be what you would have desired. Each state has laws in place for this type of situation. Oftentimes the ex-spouse will be given guardianship of your children, unless they’re unwilling or the court thinks another option is in the children’s best interest.
Issues like guardianship are very state-specific. Make sure you’ve spoken to a local estate planning attorney for legal advice and help. If you’re based in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio; Mike Massey Law can help. Book a meeting now.