When couples decide to divorce, it might not initially occur to them to re-evaluate their estate plan. For example, if you have a simple will or healthcare directive granting power of attorney to your spouse, you will probably want to change your will and select someone else. Likewise, if during your marriage you bequeathed certain heirlooms or established a trust fund for your spouse, you will need to change your estate plan to reflect your current situation. Even if you've made pertinent changes but have remarried, you will still need to update your will or trust to ensure assets are distributed to the people you care about.
Remarried with Step-Children? Update Your Estate Plan
After your divorce, you may have updated your estate plan and named your children as beneficiaries to your estate. Now, you find yourself remarried with stepchildren. You might think since your biological children are named in your updated estate plan, you don't need to worry about anything, right?
Wrong - depending on the terms of your estate plan, your current wife might lay claim to certain assets or property you intended for your biological children. For example, suppose you have a classic car, vintage guitar, or gun collection you want to leave for your biological son or daughter.
However, suppose you used commingled assets from your current marriage to refurbish or repair your vintage Gibson Les Paul, Weatherby rifle, or '65 Mustang. The court might consider these items as community property and grant ownership of them to your wife. The same fate could be reserved for investments and savings accounts if you don't update your estate plan.
The Importance of Changing Beneficiaries
If you have an insurance policy or retirement plan, you'll need to change the beneficiary - even if your divorce settlement indicates your former spouse has no claim on them. Here, it's important to keep in mind that your divorce settlement does not pre-empt or override what an insurance company or retirement plan administrator is required to do by law. As a result, if your ex-spouse is named as the beneficiary on an insurance or retirement plan, your survivors may have little legal recourse to demand the money go to them - even if you've made provisions for these assets in your estate plan.
Contact Frisco Estate Planning Lawyers at Pfister Family Law
Understanding how your will or trust can affect probate and the financial future of your heirs is essential. To learn how we can help you protect your family and interests, contact Frisco, Texas estate planning attorneys at Pfister Family Law today to schedule an appointment and discuss your case.