Estate planning and remarriage

| Oct 15, 2020 | Estate Planning |

As more older adults in Texas divorce and remarry, it’s important to think about the way that divorce can impact financial planning. Partly, that involves financial settlements for ex-spouses, but it’s important to think about the impact of remarriage on estate planning, too.

In many cases, older adults who get remarried want to provide for their first family in their wills. They generally want to leave something to the children from their first marriage. They may even want to leave something for their first spouse. However, one of the most important things to remember about estate planning instruments is to keep them current. Older adults who don’t update their wills, trusts and other documents risk inadvertently disinheriting family members.

For example, in some states, the estate of someone who dies intestate will pass directly to their current spouse. That person is considered to be their next of kin. Older adults who have not specified their children as heirs may be bypassing them entirely by accident. When a will is not updated to address all the complexities of an estate, it can be found to be invalid. In that case, the court may distribute the assets in a way that doesn’t reflect the decedent’s written instructions.

Remarried adults also need to consider the beneficiary designations on their retirement and insurance accounts. If they haven’t designated their new spouse, assets like a 401(k) and life insurance may pass to their ex-spouse instead. People should check their beneficiaries annually during their employer’s open enrollment period.

Estate planning can be complicated. An experienced estate law attorney may simplify the process. They may help clients know the right questions to ask and how to craft documents that will hold up in court.