Second Marriages, Blended Families & Probate

Second marriages can be rewarding on so many levels, namely a second chance at happiness. If you're like a lot of couples, you and your spouse have children from previous relationships, and you might even have children together.

You may have each brought a significant amount of assets to the marriage, you might even have a prenuptial agreement that states that all money that you both earn, shall remain separate.

In the event that something happens to you, how do you provide for your new life partner, while ensuring that some, if not most of your assets pass to your children?

Finding Balance with Blended Families

If you find your state's probate laws a little confusing, especially as they pertain to blended families, it's understandable. Making sure that you provide for everyone and keep your spouse and children happy can get tricky. That said, you need an estate plan that is tailored to your situation. If you don't have one, there's no way to ensure that what you want to happen, actually happens.

Unfortunately, relying on your new spouse and your children to sort this out isn't a good plan, but getting legal advice is. Begin by thinking about your most important estate planning goals, such as:

  • What you want to happen to your house.
  • Who you want to be beneficiaries of your life insurance.
  • How you want to provide for your children.
  • What you want to leave to your spouse.
  • What you want to happen to your car, jewelry, collectibles, retirement accounts, bank accounts, etc.

Be sure to review any beneficiary designations that you have on insurance policies, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. Lots of people forget to update their beneficiaries when they get divorced or remarried. You might be surprised what you find!

Learn your state's probate laws, so you understand what your spouse and children would be entitled to in the absence of a will or trust. By speaking with an estate planning attorney who has experience helping blended families, you can ensure that your assets ultimately go where you want them to go.