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Getting Remarried? Don’t Make These Estate Planning Mistakes

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

One of the major life changes that I speak about often in these articles and blogs is getting married. It’s even more of a major life change when you are getting remarried or married for the second or third time. The reason this is a major life change is because it brings new people into your life that were not previously there which changes your relationships and your family dynamics.

Regardless of whether you have a current written estate plan or not, getting remarried is an important reason for making sure that your estate plan is updated to meet all of your current needs. In other words, because your circumstances have changed, it is time to make sure that your estate-planning meets your current circumstances.

All of the attorneys on the premier Idaho estate planning team at the Racine law office are experienced and qualified in helping clients understand and update their own estate plan whenever the need arises. This includes dealing with all the major estate planning documents which include a written last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a living will, a healthcare power of attorney, and possibly a variety of trusts.

Our team is made up of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Our attorneys have each earned the highest rankings possible based upon their experience, knowledge, abilities and ethics from the several notable legal rating services including AVVO, Martindale & Hubbell and Justia. More importantly, our team of attorneys have the skill and experience to help you with your estate plan regardless of your needs.

If you don’t yet have an estate plan, then we encourage you to download our free Estate Planning Questionnaire and then schedule a free 30-minute consultation where we can help you understand your options, and how a well-thought-out plan can be used to help you and your family. We also use this free consultation to answer all of your questions and can help you avoid the major estate planning mistakes that often arise as a result of a remarriage.

Provide for Your Current Spouse

The first major mistake that you need to make sure to avoid is not providing for your current spouse. If you have a written estate plan in place before your remarriage, it likely doesn’t include your current spouse after the marriage occurs. Because of this, after a remarriage, we encourage our clients to visit us so we can review their written estate plan and make sure that it will meet the needs of their current spouse.

Provide For Your Children

The next major mistake is not providing for your children. In other words, your estate plan may leave everything to your new spouse, and not provide anything to your children from your previous marriage.

Not all stepparents are like the step-mother characterized in the story Cinderella. However, you may be surprised to know that a number of stepparents can be and are like this. Because of the possibility that this could happen, it’s important that your estate plan be specific as to what is being left to your children.

We strongly discourage any type of oral agreement or arrangement you would have with your new spouse to leave something to and take care of your children if you die first and leave everything to your spouse. Once the property belongs to your new spouse it is theirs. They are free to do whatever they choose with it. This means they can specifically disinherit your children and leave all of your property to their own family and children.

If you want to leave something to your children, then do it. Don’t leave that responsibility to your new spouse. This often leads to misunderstandings, greed, hurt feelings, and disinheritance. Updating your estate plan after remarrying to make sure your children are provided for is one of the most important things you can do to keep peace and harmony in your family.

Update Designations to Remove Your Previous Spouse

In addition to the above, if you have been remarried, then it’s important you go through all of your other documents as well to make sure they are all updated. In addition to your estate planning documents listed above, you should also update the beneficiary designations on any life insurance policies you own, any retirement accounts that you have, any pensions or annuities that you have obtained and any other items that allow beneficiaries to be listed.

Sometimes, these forms aren’t updated after a divorce, or your previous spouse passed away. If they still name that individual, then they are still entitled to receive those items. It is important that each of these items be updated to reflect what you currently want.

Every marriage is a happy time in your life. To keep it that way, we encourage you to make sure that your estate plan is updated to meet your needs after your new marriage. If you have questions or concerns about how to do this, or what’s involved, we can help. Please call us today for a free 30-minute consultation. We have assisted numerous clients through this process, and we are confident we can help you too!

ENLIST AN IDAHO ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY TO HELP YOU

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning or probate needs. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at lane@racineolson.com or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho estate planning problems.

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