A second marriage can offer a new chance at love for individuals who have lost a spouse due to divorce or death. If there are children involved, it is important to think about what will happen to your finances and assets when you pass away. While you can’t ensure that everyone in your blended family will be happy with your final wishes, there are some ways to make sure the right people are receiving the assets you dictate. If you’re a New York resident, here are some important mistakes to avoid when it comes to estate planning for a blended family.
Not changing beneficiaries
One of the most common estate planning mistakes is not updating beneficiaries on accounts after a second marriage. Updating all your documents ensures that your finances will go to your new spouse, biological children, and stepchildren as you indicated. Check your bank accounts, retirement plans, annuities and insurance policies to make sure the beneficiaries you designate are listed on all appropriate documents.
Not making changes to your will
When you change your beneficiary on financial documents, you can avoid leaving your retirement account balance to your ex-spouse. However, your will dictates who receives the rest of the assets you and your spouse accumulated in life. Chances are that you don’t want your ex to get your home or other property, either.
Usually, people making an estate plan decide that the surviving spouse will receive all assets, and once the second spouse passes away, the assets will be evenly divided among the children and grandchildren. However, this plan won’t work if your surviving ex-spouse does not write a new will and leaves all or some of the children out of it. You may want to ask a professional about other estate planning tools to make sure none of your children are disinherited.