Attorney Sandy Ard, of the Ard Law Firm, PLLC, writes about Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning, Veterans Benefits Planning, Wills, Trusts, Living Trusts, Pet Trusts, Special Needs Planning, Asset Protection, Elder Law, Farm Trusts and Non-citizen Spouse Estate Planning, Probate & Estate Administration, Business Succession, and Family Business Planning in Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas.
Serious Estate Planning Considerations for Those Getting Remarried in Harris and Galveston County
By: Sandra Ard
Whether you’ve been divorced or widowed, there is always the chance of finding a new love and deciding you want to cement your commitment to one another. That being said, there are likely some circumstances which make this trip down the aisle considerably different than the last one. For example, you may have minor (or adult) children from a previous relationship, have an ex-spouse to take into consideration, and are likely ready to avoid any pitfalls which trapped you the first time around. An estate planning lawyer will help you review all of these aspects of your situation so you can put together a plan which protects and works for everyone involved.
Children from a Previous Relationship
One of the biggest reasons to engage in estate planning right away is because it ensures protection for children from a previous relationship. Without a proper will and other applicable documents, a person’s entire estate will generally pass to his or her new spouse. If that person also passes away without estate planning, the assets then pass to the stepchildren! This means there is no time at which the original spouse’s children are entitled to their mother or father’s inheritance. This fact alone is enough to send a lot of responsible parents running for a good estate planning attorney.
Having your children cut out of an inheritance is a pretty grim scenario, but there are problems which can arise from not following up on your estate planning when getting remarried. If you and your ex had documents drawn up (such as wills and trusts, medical directives, etc.), then he or she may still retain legal control over your affairs. Very few people would like their ex to inherit their estate or make important medical decisions on their behalf, so take the time to update your documents accordingly.
Yours, Mine, and Ours
There are plenty of other reasons why a couple would prefer to keep their estates separate. Perhaps they are older and each have their own savings, property, etc. which they would prefer not to co-mingle in the event of a divorce. Or, one spouse may not necessarily need the benefit of inheriting the other’s assets. In fact, such an inheritance could possibly work against him or her when it comes to long-term care planning or qualifying for Medicaid. That’s why both partners should work with reputable estate planning and prenup lawyer here in Houston and Galveston to lay a firm legal foundation from the start of their marriage to ensure their wishes are honored in the future.