Second marriages are often rife with challenges. Whether it is coping with the end of a marriage, rebuilding a career that was put on pause, or blending families, you will likely feel overwhelmed for a time, but it is still important to consider what will happen to your assets when you pass on. It is rarely possible to create an estate plan with which everyone in your family agrees, though. Regardless, you should still do your best to avoid some of the most common estate planning errors committed by people who enter into second marriages and who have children. Here are some critical estate planning errors that you should avoid if you are in such a situation.
NOT Routinely Reviewing (and Revising) Your Estate Plan
Unfortunately, some people never change their estate planning documents, even after major events like births, marriage, or divorces. In second marriages, this might mean that your first spouse is still named in your estate planning documents. By changing your beneficiary designations, you can make sure that your assets pass on in the intended manner. While you are reviewing estate planning documents and beneficiary designations, it is just as important to make sure that your medical directives are also sufficiently updated.
Believing You Have to Treat All of Your Heirs Equally
At the time that they marry, most spouses are not on equal terms. This is often even more so in second marriages. If you marry and your new spouse moves into your house, you might want to make sure that your assets pass to your heirs instead of your spouse’s heirs. No law, however, states that all children must be treated equally. Instead, there are various valid reasons why you might decide to pass on a disproportionate amount of assets to each of your heirs. For example, sometimes one child might be disabled or face mental or physical obstacles that necessitate passing on more to that child.
NOT Giving Your Assets Away Before You Pass Away
If you plan to pass on assets to your children or loved ones, you should consider starting while you are still alive. Some people make the mistake of only passing assets on after they have passed away. Not only will you enjoy seeing your loved ones inherit these assets, but you can also make the most of tax deductions by utilizing things like the gift tax exemption which allows you to give up to $15,000 per individual without having to face federal taxes.
Contact a Skilled Estate Planning Lawyer
To make sure you have the strongest estate plan possible, speak with an experienced attorney. Contact attorney Jim A Lyontoday to schedule a free case evaluation.