This week on our blog we have been discussing remarriage and estate planning – including the questions you should ask yourself about estate planning after a second marriage and which documents you need to review and update after a second marriage. Yesterday, we listed four common estate planning mistakes made by those who remarry, and today we will continue the list with four more pitfalls to avoid.
Mistake #5: Not considering utilizing a life insurance policy.
Although life insurance plans are usually used to provide for dependents, spouses, and minor children, they can also be used to navigate sensitive issues related to blended families and inheritance. Leaving life insurance money to your children can help ease any hard feelings that they may have about you leaving your property to your second spouse.
Mistake #6: Making a do-it-yourself will without professional legal help.
There is a time and a place for do-it-yourself wills and estate planning and some may benefit from online will kits. However, those who have been married more than once, or those with blended families, should most probably consult with an attorney to draft a will. Those who do not may make small mistakes that could have disastrous consequences.
Mistake #7: Not communicating openly with your new spouse.
When it comes to estate planning, it is absolutely essential to be on the same page with your new spouse about three things: your current financial situation, your current estate plans, and your plans for blending your finances after your marriage. Far too many people do not clearly understand their finances after a divorce or make assumptions about who will support them after new spouse’s death.
Mistake #8: Choosing the wrong person as a trustee.
Although it may feel like an easy choice to make your new spouse, one of your children, or one of your stepchildren a trustee, it is probably a poor decision. Any one of these choices could create family problems, have troubles with objectivity, or make others suspicious of their objectivity, while the trustee himself or herself could be placed in an uncomfortable situation. There’s no reason not to pick a trustee that is not emotionally involved in the situation, such as a corporate trustee or bank.
Palo Alto Estate Planning Services for Blended Families
At The Law Office of Janet Brewer, we have extensive experience working with blended families and those who have been married multiple times. Let us help you come up with a plan that works best for your unique needs and your unique family. To learn more about our services, or about estate planning laws in California, call The Law Office of Janet Brewer today: (650) 325-8276.