Having a comprehensive estate plan is a wise step for Texans regardless of their financial and personal situation. The goal with any estate plan is to prepare for the future by protecting loved ones. This can be accomplished in many ways with wills, trusts and other estate planning devices. Still, circumstances will inevitably differ and it is beneficial to have a plan that is specifically tailored to the individual needs. For people who have gotten divorced and are remarrying, there are common mistakes to avoid.
Preventing turmoil with an estate plan after getting remarried
In a new marriage, there is a chance of friction with children from a previous marriage. Failure to update a will to include the new spouse can be problematic. Assets from the new marriage such as a home, items of sentimental value and gifts should be listed in the updated will as belonging to the new spouse. Since the will is a legal document, it should say exactly how the testator wants the property to be distributed – including the children from the prior marriage and the new spouse.
Just as the new spouse should be shielded, the children must also have certain protections. There are many cases in which the new spouse receives certain assets with the stated belief that the property will be shared with the children, but then it is not because the will does not specify it. Children could be excluded when the testator wanted them to be cared for. This can be addressed with a revocable trust or a separate marital trust.
Assets might be depleted if there is a medical issue requiring a new spouse have extensive medical care. A life insurance policy can protect the assets and provide for the children. The first spouse might be entitled to retirement assets and life insurance if the beneficiary designations are not changed. Often, people forget that changing an estate plan is not sufficient to change these designations and the first spouse is legally entitled to those assets.
Legal help can be imperative with estate planning
A frequent issue with estate planning is the failure to have even a basic document saying how they want their property to be distributed after death. Even if they do create an estate plan, life changes must also be dealt with. This is especially true if there is a remarriage. For these and any other aspects of estate planning, consulting with experienced legal professionals can cover all the bases from the simple to the complex and avoid disagreements and acrimony.