If you’ve remarried, it’s crucial to think about the impact your new relationship can have on your estate plan. This is particularly important if you and your ex-spouse have children together, or if your new partner has brought children into your family.
You may have established an estate plan during your first marriage. If so, your ex could receive most of your assets if you fail to update your plan. Failing to consider the new makeup of your family could also result in disinheriting your children. You’re not alone in facing these challenges. It’s estimated that half of all couples in the U.S. were either previously married or have remarried. With that in mind, here are three reasons why you’ll want to revisit your estate plan when you’ve remarried.
1. A will alone may not address your wishes
You may have set up a simple will during your first marriage, leaving all of your assets to your then spouse. It’s likely that your divorce has probably changed your outlook. If you don’t update your will, your ex will receive everything after you’ve passed on. Your ex isn’t obligated to share any of the proceeds with your new family members. You are going to want to consider a more robust estate plan.
2. Trust options may help suit your needs
Trusts can benefit families of all stripes. It’s possible to establish a trust that will leave your assets to your spouse for the remainder of their life. Any assets that remain could then pass on to your children. This can help avoid some of the problems that could arise if you have a simple will. There are several other trust options that can help address nearly all of your needs and wishes.
3. Ensure you trust someone to make decisions on your behalf
At some point, it’s likely you created a power of attorney or crafted an advanced health care directive. Think about the person you named to make decisions on your behalf. Do you still trust that person to make decisions that are in both your best interests and the interests of your new family? Are there concerns that the person you’ve named may shut out your spouse or your stepchildren? If so, it’s time to update these documents.
You should review your estate plan every so often
It’s good practice to look over your estate plan every three to five years. Even if you’ve experienced no significant shifts in your family unit, other aspects of your life may have changed. A skilled professional can help you make any updates where you see fit.