The typical estate planning structure for married couples, of leaving everything to each other and then to the children after the second spouse dies, should be different for second marriages, especially when children from first marriages are involved. While it’s unlikely the second-marriage couple will knowingly plan on disinheriting children belonging to each other, not making provisions in their estate plan for these children may cause just that.
In this Elder Law and Estate Planning Minute, Wes Coulson, St. Louis area attorney, discusses a Common Estate Planning Mistake when people fail to address the possibility of a second spouse disinheriting children from a first marriage, unknowingly or not.
Common Estate Planning Mistake #8: Failing to address the possibility of a second spouse disinheriting children from a first marriage
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Estate Planning Minute. This is another in our series on Common Estate Planning Mistakes. Today, I want to talk particularly to those of you who are married and have children, but the children aren’t from your current marriage.
Very typically, in fact the most common estate planning structure for married couples is to leave everything to each other, and after the second one dies, to your children. Well, the problem with that, in this instance, is that you have no control over what might happen after you die. And here’s what I’ve found too often, it’s not that the spouse and the children of the deceased spouse have anything against each other, it’s just that over time after the first one dies, they tend to drift a little bit naturally apart. And if somebody needs care later in life, it’s their own children who are providing that.
I’ve seen too many instances in which the Will of the surviving spouse changes and leaves everything to that spouse’s children. So, you need a structure that provides for each other, but maintains control of assets until after the second spouse dies, so that you can assure that you’ve also provided for your children. We can help you with that. Thanks so much.
For more about estate planning, visit these articles:
- Why Second Marriage Spouses Need a Living Trust
- Wills, Living Trusts and Powers of Attorney: How often should they be updated?
Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (877)995-6876 or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.