On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Thursday April 7th, 2022.
The estate planning process may appear convoluted when it comes to blended families, but it does not make it any less critical. You can avoid probate court and legal complications down the line by creating a planning strategy.
Start by talking to your spouse about your estate plans. Then, when you and your partner are ready, an attorney can assist you in putting the necessary documentation in place.
Get Started Before You Remarry
You certainly want to celebrate if you’re ready to remarry, but it’s also vital to focus on less exciting concerns like updating your estate plan. You may have made a simple will during your first marriage, but it will almost certainly be more difficult the second time–especially if you have children from your first marriage or own more assets. Starting the planning process before the nuptials will benefit all parties involved.
Update Your Beneficiaries
One benefit of altering the beneficiary’s name is that the money will go directly to the intended recipient without going through probate — the legal process of settling an estate. If that’s your intention, go through all of your bank accounts — checking, savings, and retirement — to make sure your spouse is named as the beneficiary. Check the beneficiaries of life insurance policies as well because these payouts are also exempt from probate. You can name your children as secondary beneficiaries, ensuring that they receive the assets if both of you die.
“The most common mistake we see is that people never change their wills or their beneficiary designations,” saysMark Bass, a financial planner with Pennington, Bass & Associates in Lubbock, Texas. Failing to do so can mean that your previous spouse is entitled to insurance benefits or retirement payouts, leaving your new partner in financial straights.
Consult an Estate Planning Attorney
You should discuss things with an attorney even if you don’t have a lot of assets, especially if you have children. At the very least, your will needs to be updated. Other estate planning instruments, such as a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy, may also need to be updated or created.
A prenuptial agreement may be appropriate if you have considerable assets. Additionally, the attorney can assist you in determining whether a trust is required to protect your children’s interests.
The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers provides top-notch legal representation to clients in Daytona Beach and southern Florida. Our areas of legal practice include family law, personal injury, eminent domain, and estate planning and probate. Our firm has over 60 years of addressing our clients’ legal issues. Please feel free to contact us by filling out our online form or calling us at (386) 252-3000.