Remarried? Here’s How to Avoid Accidentally Disinheriting Your Kids

If you are remarried and hope to have your kids inherit assets from a previous marriage, it is crucial not to overlook the importance of estate planning, and especially not to leave it to the last minute. Parents who plan on getting remarried are often concerned about the impact the new marriage of their children’s inheritance. Estate planning should be prioritized when getting remarried. If an estate plan is not executed or updated, your children could potentially become disinherited from any assets from the previous marriage.

how to avoid disinheriting children when remarrying

According to Livingston, remarriage is on the rise for Americans older than fifty-five which means that having a conversation with your family regarding estate planning is imperative to transition into your new chapter smoothly. The older you are when you remarry, the more assets you are likely to bring into the marriage. For example, life insurance policies, real estate, and retirement savings are all assets likely to come up while considering estate planning among older couples. However, if you want to ensure that your children retain some of these assets, it is recommended to contact a reliable estate planning attorney that can guide you through the rough waters of estate planning.

Make Sure to Have A Last Will & Testament

Although situations do vary, there are important matters to consider when making sure your children end up the assets you intended them to form the start. One way to protect your children’s inheritance is to give it to them directly through a Last Will and Testament. A will can outline your intended beneficiaries, the intended assets, and how those assets will be distributed after your death. Choosing beneficiaries and keeping choices up-to-date is essential. In addition to specifying how your resources will be allocated to your children, a will can determine designations to charities and non-immediate family members.

Update Your Beneficiary Designations

Assets that are not governed by a will include 401(k), life insurance policies, and IRAs. To make sure your children are the beneficiaries of these assets, it is recommended to consult with an attorney who can guide you through the process. For a 401(k), if you are the account holder, you must have your new spouse sign a waiver to designate another person to be named as a beneficiary. On the other hand, for IRAs, you, as the account holder, are entitled to name whomever you want as the beneficiary without your spouse’s consent. If you would like to change the beneficiary designation on your life insurance policy, it is a more straightforward procedure.

Should I Set Up A Trust?

Another way to protect your children’s inheritance is to draft up a trust. By setting aside resources and assets, the beneficiaries will receive their inheritance over time. For example, when your children reach a certain age or when they meet certain conditions. There are several types of trusts you can set up for your children such as special needs trusts and minor’s trusts. The resources in the trust are protected, and you have an ultimate say in how the asset distribution will be made. To further protect your property and assets when getting remarried, you may choose to draft a prenuptial agreement. This document specifies what assets are considered shared property and discloses what assets may be distributed to your spouse upon death.

Overall, an estate plan including a will, trust, and beneficiary designations is essential to ensure that your assets will be passed along according to your preference. If you are getting remarried or have already, it is critical to contact a licensed New York estate planning lawyer to either create an estate plan or update an existing one to avoid accidentally disinheriting your children from their assets.