What kinda things do we run into when people do their estate plans themselves?
I’m Sarah Siedentopf. I’m an Estate Planning and Probate Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. And here are a couple of the things that I see quite a bit. And the first one is, not considering a prenup.
Of course, a prenup does many things, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t love someone, it doesn’t mean that you don’t trust someone, it just sets some expectations. And from an estate planning and inheritance expectation, usually what it says is, my stuff is my stuff, your stuff is your stuff, and we don’t have claims on each other’s stuff when we die. Now, this does not mean that you cannot leave things to your spouse in your will, but it does mean that they can’t grab pieces of it that you didn’t intend for them to have because we’ve got the prenup that says, legally, you can’t do that, you have waived your right to do that.
The next issue with DIY second marriage inheritance is forgetting to update those beneficiary designations. If they have not been updated since your first marriage, if they have not been updated since your children became 18 or older, if they haven’t been updated to reflect trusts that you’ve put in place or anything else that has changed, it is likely to throw your plan completely off-kilter.
The last one that I see, and this one causes a lot of friction is leaving the new spouse in control of money for children from your first marriage. You love your new spouse, you trust your new spouse, and sometimes, it has been an incredibly well-blended family, your kids get along with your spouse, everyone is very happy, but often, it leads to a lot of friction when someone who is not my parent is in charge of the money that my parent left for me. And there can be questions about, you know, are we trying to save this money for the spouse? When should the children get it? And we want to make sure that if you leave someone in charge of money, it’s someone who is well-positioned to be fair to everyone. So, you are often not going to want to leave your second spouse in control of money left for children of your first marriage. That can cause tons and tons of issues. If you have more questions about beneficiaries and other inheritance issues with a second marriage,
I would love to answer them, and please feel free to also comment. Thank you.
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