Estate planning can be challenging enough when you and your spouse have children in common. The process becomes even more complex when one or both of you have children from a previous relationship that you want to provide for after your passing.
People sometimes feel torn between the needs of their current spouse and the needs of their children, whether they are minors or adults. Adult children may have concerns that your spouse will exhaust their inheritance if you pass away first, and you may both have concerns about perceived fairness. This blog provides a general outline of factors to consider when considering estate planning with your second or subsequent spouse.
Questions Remarried Couples Should Consider When Writing a Will
While every person who has been married before has a unique situation, brainstorming answers to the following questions can help you and your spouse determine your joint priorities.
- Do you have certain assets in mind for certain children? If one child or stepchild receives an asset with a considerably higher value than the others receive, how do you plan to address that?
- Did either the husband or wife prepare a will while in a previous relationship that now requires updating? Do you plan to write new individual wills or a joint will?
- Do the two of you have children together or do you plan to in the future? Which assets would you like to pass along to children who have not been born or adopted yet?
- Did either of you bring individual debts into the marriage, or do you plan to incur large debts together?
- Does either of you have individual assets or assets with a former partner that needs a new title in both names?
- What other estate planning situations do you plan to cover besides writing a will? Common examples include healthcare power of attorney or directive, creating a trust, or guardianship of minor children.
- Have you updated the beneficiary designations on your retirement savings account and insurance policies that may still bear the name of an ex-spouse?
Emotions are often high after a death, and tensions can be even higher in a step-family or blended family situation. Should one of you pass away suddenly without a will, the inheritance laws in your state apply rather than your own wishes. The best way to protect both sets of children and anyone else associated with your estate is to create an estate plan as early in your new marriage as possible.
Work with the Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys at Beasley & Ferber
With 30 years of experience operating our own law firm, attorneys Beasley and Ferber have worked with all types of families when creating and helping to settle estate plans. We invite you to contact us and share the ideas from your brainstorming session to ensure that you are not overlooking any estate planning essentials. Once you feel satisfied that your will and other legal documents express your true wishes, we will assist you with putting each of them in writing.