A new marriage is certainly a joyous occasion. However, it is also a good reason to revisit your current estate plan to ensure it continues to meet your needs.
According to the AARP, there are many common estate planning mistakes that can impact people in new marriages. By taking the following steps, you can ensure yours continues to provide protection to all your family members, both new and old.
Update your will soon after your new marriage
Will updates should occur every three years or so. They must also occur after any major life event, particularly new marriages. In the event, the unthinkable happens and there is only an outdated will available, you are risking hurt feelings and a lot of strife among family members.
Review beneficiary designations
Beneficiary designations accompany financial accounts and life insurance policies. These designations override any information contained within your will. If there are discrepancies, the heirs listed on individual documents will receive funds automatically. One major change to make is to remove your former spouse from these documents and replace the name with your current spouse.
Use discretion when it comes to heirs
While you naturally want to provide all your heirs with assets after you die, that does not mean every person in your family must receive the same amount. You might want to provide more funds to biological children than stepchildren, or you might have concerns about how your heirs will use the money they receive. In this case, a trust has much to offer when it comes to estate planning. Trusts also allow you to avoid probate, since assets within the trust pass directly to heirs upon your death.
Remember, estate planning decisions are deeply personal. While some members of your family may find fault with your choices, you must create an estate plan that suits your desires after you are gone.