Marrying again gives us a second chance of happiness, whether our first marriage ended with the death of our spouse or with a divorce. In recent years, remarriage has become even more common, especially as people live longer and healthier lives. However, while remarriage can open a wonderful new chapter in your life, it can also come with issues and complexities when it comes to your estate planning.
Below, our estate planning experts have listed four common mistakes that people make after remarrying regarding their estate plan.
Mistake #1: Not updating your will.
Far too many people write their will, pat themselves on the back, and then never think about it again. This may be fine for some, but for those who remarry, the results can be disastrous. In addition to updating your will, be sure to update your other legal papers and plans, such as updating your beneficiaries on all of your policies and accounts.
Mistake #2: Not looking closely at the language in your will.
Some people don’t realize how ambiguous language can be when it comes to drafting wills and blended families. For example, if you leave something to “my children,” are you referring to your biological children, your stepchildren, or both? When you leave something to “my family,” who does that include?
Mistake #3: Not considering the feelings of everyone in your family.
In our law office, we often see that individuals don’t realize just how sensitive other family members can be about estate planning issues – especially when it comes to children and stepchildren in blended families. Even if family relations are good now, that can quickly change when a bio parent dies and leaves his or her assets to a stepparent. You must plan these sensitive matters carefully.
Mistake #4: Not considering a QTIP trust.
Don’t be intimidated by this odd-sounding trust, known as the “Qualified Terminable Interest Property” trust, which can be extremely useful for those in second marriages who want to provide both for their current spouse as well as their children from their first marriage. QTIP trusts allow the surviving spouse to live off of your assets and live on your property, but ultimately leave everything to your kids. A QTIP also delays estate taxes.
The Law Office of Janet Brewer: California Estate Planning Attorneys
Although estate planning after a second marriage can be sensitive and complex, an experienced CA estate planning attorney can make certain that your assets are protected and that your family is supported after your death. If you have a question about estate planning for blended families, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with an estate planning lawyer, please call The Law Office of Janet Brewer today: (650) 325-8276.