After the divorce or death of a spouse, it isn’t unusual for people in Connecticut to remarry. While finding love again is often a source of great joy, it also brings some legal concerns. If one or both spouses have children from a previous relationship, estate planning is critical. When parents of adult or minor children get married again, they should immediately update their wills and estate planning documents, including those that govern insurance policies, retirement accounts and investment plans. In addition, end-of-life planning documents such as living wills, powers of attorney and advanced directives should also be updated to reflect the estate planner’s wishes.
Having an updated will is always a good idea, but particularly so for people who have children from a previous marriage or relationship. Without a will, it’s up to the courts to determine how assets should be divided. Even if the stepparent and children have a good relationship, bitterness and conflict could result from the court’s decision.
It’s also important for an estate owner to understand that a will does not impact retirement accounts, life insurance policies and pension documents. People will need to speak to their insurance agents and benefit plan administrators to change the beneficiaries on these documents after a marriage takes place.
Parents who are considering getting married again may benefit from speaking with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. The lawyer might be able to review the client’s situation and make recommendations regarding wills, end-of-life documents and addressing other financial considerations. An attorney could also recommend strategies for presenting changes in estate planning to spouses and family members.