Remarriage can complicate life.
You were married before.
You have children from that marriage.
You love and adore them.
You also are getting remarried.
You love and adore this person as well.
Can your assets, like your love, be there for all of them?
According to a recent CBNC article titled “Remarried after having kids? Here are tips to avoid accidentally disinheriting them,” this is not impossible.
You will need to be intentional in your estate planning.
If you do not have a will, even a basic will, you are risking disinheriting your children.
If you are getting remarried and are older, you are likely bringing plenty of your own assets into the new union.
Your estate plan must be prioritized as part of the planning for your wedding.
What steps do you need to take?
Not all assets pass through a will.
Retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other accounts pass through beneficiary designations.
This means the individual named as the beneficiary on the asset will receive the asset even if your will indicates someone else.
Consider your home.
Will you and your new spouse be jointly owning your new home?
If yes, you may be unable to leave your share to your children.
This is contingent on state law and the titling of the property.
Usually, “tenancy by the entirety” or “joint tenancy with right of survivorship” will pass ownership directly to the other owner.
If your home is owned in “tenancy in common,” you could leave your share to your children.
Pass personal property.
Are there certain family heirlooms or sentimental items you want to leave with your children?
If yes, you should create a detailed list that is "incorporated by reference" in your will.
This leaves no room for interpretation or confusion, especially when emotions can run high.
Create a Power of Attorney.
What happens if you become incapacitated?
Who will pay your bills and file tax returns on your behalf?
Who will make medical decisions?
A durable power of attorney is essential in these situations.
You can even appoint different people for health care and for financial decisions to divide responsibilities.
Write a Health Care Treatment Directive.
Do you have strong opinions on the level and duration of any life sustaining care you would like to receive?
If yes, do not leave these decisions to your loved ones.
You can provide written directions yourself in a health care treatment directive.
Doing so can remove stress and decrease tensions within a blended family.
Care for all of your loved ones.
Do your estate planning now.
Reference: CBNC (January 17, 2019) “Remarried after having kids? Here are tips to avoid accidentally disinheriting them”