In Iowa as around the country, more older adults are getting divorced and remarrying than ever before. This is creating some unique issues when it comes to estate planning. Whenever someone has a major life event, like divorce, remarriage or the birth of a child, it’s important to revisit the issue of estate planning. If that doesn’t happen, there can be some serious unintended consequences.
Accidentally leaving people out
When someone doesn’t leave a will, or they leave a will that’s out of date, it may fall on the state to distribute assets. Depending on state law, this could mean leaving adult children from a first marriage out in the cold. Alternatively, it could mean leaving the new spouse without anything. It’s a good idea to consult an attorney before remarrying to ensure that everyone is provided for in some way.
Unintentionally leaving people in
While wills are the cornerstone of the estate planning process, they’re not the only document someone needs to think about. For example, many people have life insurance policies through their employers. Often, people designate their beneficiaries when the policies are first created and never think about it again. This can be a big problem for someone who has remarried. If a prior spouse is listed as the beneficiary, that contract will still be considered binding. The insurance money can pass to the wrong person.
An experienced lawyer may remind their clients to attend to all of these issues when crafting their estate plan. Getting help when planning an estate is always prudent. It’s a upfront expense, but it may save people money, time and heartache in the long run.