We Want Our Children To Inherit Everything We Have. But What If The Survivor Of Us Changes That Plan?
Many married couples envision that their children will someday inherit what remains of their estate, as they know it. What many fail to consider is what could go wrong with that plan during the surviving spouse’s life.
After the first spouse died the survivor may find happiness and companionship in a future relationship, which in turn may come with financial responsibilities for a new family. A prenuptial agreement would offer some protection for the assets of the first marriage. But what if the survivor does not get a prenuptial agreement with the future spouse?
What if the survivor was to suffer from diminished mental capacity at some point? Let’s say the survivor was to lose the ability to manage that property from the first marriage, that both intended to leave to their children. Suddenly, the survivor will have to rely on others to manage and protect that property. What if they change the estate plan? What if the surviving spouse falls victim to predators or scammers?
All of these concerns can be addressed with a carefully designed estate plan. For example, the plan may provide for a Marital Trust that will hold and protect half of the marital property after the first death while still making that property available for the survivor’s needs. Even distributions from a retirement plan to a surviving spouse can be protected that way. There is plenty to consider and discuss with your estate planning attorney. Work with an attorney who listens to your wishes and customizes your documents to address your goals.