Losing a spouse is one of the most difficult things a person can experience. Yet, when it comes to estate planning, many fail to consider the impact that remarriage can have on their children. If your parent passes away and their estate is left outright to their second spouse, you may find yourself facing a loss not just of a parent, but also of any inheritance you were counting on. In this blog, we’ll explore why planning ahead for second spouses is crucial when it comes to protecting your estate, and what you can do to ensure your loved ones are taken care of.
Parents Remarrying Is Natural
The reality is, the vast majority of people whose spouses die do remarry. While this is a natural part of the grieving process, it can have serious implications for the children of the deceased. If your parents leave their estate outright to their second spouse, as most do, that money will go to their own children, and not to you. It’s not that your stepmother or stepfather is a bad person. It’s just human nature that they will want to protect their own children’s interests. This is why, if your parents haven’t planned ahead, chances are great that their children will pay the price. To avoid this, it’s important to have an honest and open conversation with your parents about their wishes for their estate, and to ensure that these are reflected in their estate plan.
Loosing Your Inheritance
Let’s take the example of Bill and Ann. Bill and Ann had a longtime marriage, a lot of kids, and a lot of grandchildren. They always fought over one thing, whether or not to put an inground pool in the backyard. Bill didn’t want the pool, but Ann did. So when Bill died, Ann had a simple will that left all of his money outright to her. The first thing Ann did was put in that pool, and it worked great. However, when the fall came, Ann was left alone with a pool, but had no one to spend time with.
Of course, this example is just one scenario, and everyone’s situation is unique. The bottom line is that no one can predict the future, but everyone should plan for it. If you want to protect your estate and ensure that your children are taken care of, it’s important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you develop a comprehensive plan that takes into account all of your wishes for your estate, including your wishes for any second spouse.
Creating A Trust To Protect Your Family
One option is to create a trust that provides for your second spouse during their lifetime, but ensures that your assets are preserved for your children after your second spouse’s death. Another option may be to work with your second spouse to develop a plan that takes into account both of your wishes for your estates. Whatever your situation, the key is to have an open and honest conversation with your family, to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and to work with an experienced attorney who can help you develop a plan that meets your unique needs.
Losing a spouse is hard enough, but finding out that your inheritance has been left to your stepmother or stepfather can make an already difficult situation even more challenging. To avoid this, it’s important to plan ahead for second spouses. By having an open and honest conversation with your parents about their wishes for their estate, and working with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your loved ones are taken care of, and that your parent’s wishes for their estate are fulfilled. Remember, no one can predict the future, but everyone can plan for it.