Even if you are in a solid first marriage, it is important to be aware how blended families can create unique estate planning issues. Why? Consider the following example. You pass away before your spouse and children. Like most people, you want what you left behind to be available for your spouse, and then ultimately pass to your children.
But what happens if your spouse remarries? Will your estate be used for your spouse’s benefit or for the benefit of the new spouse? Under Idaho’s community property laws, you have the right to decide how your portion of that community property will be used, and your spouse has the right to decide for his or her portion. But if you leave everything to your spouse, and he/she remarries, whose money is being used? Is your share of the estate being used to pay for things for the benefit of the new spouse? Will this new spouse care about acting prudently to reserve assets for your children?
What happens to your money if your spouse passes away before her new spouse? Does your money go to your children, or does it go to the new spouse or his/her children?
That could never happen to your spouse, mother or father you say? You may be right. But what if that loved one begins to experience some of the frailties of age? Could he or she be susceptible to clouded judgment from loneliness, a decline in health and/or potential pressure from a suitor whose motives may not be entirely sincere?
Do not leave these issues to chance. Find out how you can maintain the control that will ensure your estate will provide proper support for your spouse, while also ensuring the remainder can go on to your children.
© 2016 Steven J Wright