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Idaho Estate Planning Remarrying - Don’t Accidentally Disinherit Your Kids

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Life has a way of moving forward whether we want it to or not. This is especially true when it comes to marriage, or as this article discusses remarrying. The purpose of this article is to discuss how remarrying can have an impact on your estate planning without you knowing about it, unless you take some specific action to make sure that your estate plan continues to do what you want it to do after you remarry.

Whether the first marriage ended because of a divorce, or because a spouse passed away, it is more and more common for people to remarry in their elderly years. This is totally understandable because nobody wants to be alone. However, as with any other major life changes, remarrying could have an impact on your estate plan. Because of this, if you are contemplating remarrying, you should review your current estate plan, or if you have no estate plan yet, then you should consult with a qualified Idaho estate planning attorney to help you create an estate plan that will meet all of your needs both before and after you remarry.

Our team of premier Idaho estate planning lawyers have assisted clients for over 70 years in creating customized estate plans that help individuals while they are alive, and that make sure their property goes to their family and loved ones after they pass away. We often help clients who are contemplating remarrying. We use an Estate Planning Questionnaire and a free 30-minute consultation to talk with them about things they should consider to make sure that their estate planning will still accomplish what they want to do.

When it comes to remarrying, and estate planning, the most common impact of the remarriage is that it could change the plan an individual has to leave money, property, or assets from their estate to their children after they pass away. This is because the individual remarried and now has a spouse. As a result, there are several specific things that an individual should consider taking care of as part of their estate planning if they are going to remarry and still want to distribute property to their children.

Below, are three things that an individual in this circumstance should consider. By thinking about these three things, an individual will have the ability to stay in control of their Idaho estate plan.

Life Insurance and Account Beneficiaries

The first area that a person should consider if they are going to remarry is dealing with their life insurance and their account beneficiaries. The accounts that we are mainly talking about here are what are known as POD accounts. These most often include things such as IRAs, 401ks, pensions, annuities, and similar items.

Both life insurance and POD accounts allow the individual to designate who their beneficiaries will be after they pass away. The names of the people they want listed as their beneficiary are entered on a beneficiary designation form. Then, when the individual passes away, the company that holds the account, or insurance, is required to pay the sums involved directly to the beneficiaries that are listed.

One of the single best ways to make sure that your children receive a portion of your estate, if you are planning on remarrying is to have life insurance, or to designate your children as the beneficiaries on your POD accounts. The reason for this is that none of your estate planning documents, including your last will and testament, or even a trust, controls the distribution from life insurance or POD accounts. Because these are contractual items, they are controlled strictly by the contract itself, which includes the beneficiary designation form.

Using a Trust

Another way that you can make sure that your children will receive a portion of your estate if you are planning to remarry, is to create a trust before you remarry. In the trust, you would transfer certain money or property and you would designate your children as the beneficiaries of that trust after you pass away. By doing this, you have separated property out that belonged to you individually before you remarried. This property went into the trust before you remarried and would be controlled by the terms and conditions of the trust.

Using a trust is especially helpful if your children are minors, which means under the age of 18. It is also extremely helpful if your children have a disability or handicap, or if your children are suffering from an addiction such as alcohol or drugs where you do not want to leave money or property to them directly.

The purpose of this article is not to provide exhaustive information about trusts. Rather, this article is about how you can protect your estate plan to distribute money, property, or assets to your children even after you remarry. Just know that using a trust is a great option when it comes to remarrying.

Property Separation Agreement

Another option you can consider, if you already are remarried and you still want to come up with a plan on how to distribute money, property, and other assets from your estate to your children, is using a property separation agreement. Some people refer to this type of agreement as a postnuptial agreement.

The purpose of this agreement is to separate out the property that you own, from the property that is owned by your new spouse, and to identify the property that you both own together. By creating this agreement, your last will and testament then controls all of the property over which you are the single and separate owner.

Using this type of agreement is a good idea, when either or both new spouses come into the married with substantial assets. The agreement provides a clear understanding between everyone involved about who owns what property.

There are several options available to you if you are remarrying and still want to have control over your own property and money. This is especially true when it comes to having an estate plan that leaves portions of your estate to your children. Making sure that your estate plan accomplishes what you want is vitally important both before and after you remarry. We have helped numerous clients in this situation, and we are confident that 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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