Many people in Iowa have been married more than one time. This may be due to the death of a spouse or to a divorce. When even one person in a new marriage brings a child into the relationship with them from a previous marriage, the decisions they must address when it comes to making an estate plan can become more complicated than for people in a first marriage. 

As explained by Forbes, a standard thought process for many people is that when they die, their assets will go to their surviving spouse and then eventually to their children when the spouse later dies. In the case of a family where the surviving spouse is not the parent of the children, this should not be an automatic assumption. Without a clearly outlined and legally documented estate plan, there is nothing mandating the distribution of assets to the decedent’s children at any point in time.

A will that leaves everything to a person’s children may also be problematic as it is natural for a spouse to want to leave something for their partner. It is for this reason that some special types of trust have become popular with remarried couples.

The Tax Advisor indicates that some trusts allow a person to secure all assets in the trust and ensure the surviving spouse has some residual income for the duration of their life. After the surviving spouse dies, the trust can then distribute remaining assets to the children of the first spouse.