After a divorce, some Nevada residents believe they will never find love again. Fortunately, many people are fortunate enough to fall in love again. Getting married for a second time, however, means that estate planning takes on a new meaning, especially for those who have children from previous marriages.
In many cases, spouses leave everything to each other, and, upon the death of a surviving spouse, everything goes to the children. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that a surviving spouse will not change his or her estate planning documents after his or her first spouse passes. This could mean that the spouse in the second marriage could be set to receive nothing should he or she outlive his or her spouse. Conversely, second marriages could also leave children from first marriages with no inheritances if estate planning documents are not changed to reflect the current situations.
To guard against this possibility, the assets a parent wishes his or her children to inherit may be placed in a trust prior to the marriage. This will ensure that they are distributed to the children. For Nevada residents who have life insurance policies and/or retirement accounts, the beneficiary designations can identify a child or children as the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the policy or account.
If an individual already has an estate plan, the time prior to a second marriage is a good time to review it. Unless it is part of the divorce settlement, most people choose to remove their ex-spouses as beneficiaries of their estates. After having been married and divorced, putting protections in place “just in case” may take a higher priority than ever before. Estate planning may not be romantic, but it is practical and necessary to ensure that a person’s assets are distributed as he or she desires.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Estate Planning for Blended Families“, Alexandra Smyser, Feb. 27, 2015