What estate planning issues can arise between children and second spouses?

Creating an estate plan that makes everyone in your life happy is not an easy task, and this is especially true when your family involves a second marriage and children from prior relationships. It is important to recognize the potential for conflict now, when you are creating the estate plan. Doing so can help your attorney craft a plan that minimizes the risk of issues down the road.

 

5 Issues That Can Arise Between Second Spouses and Children From a Previous Marriage

What types of conflict can arise between spouses and children from previous relationships? The following are five examples:

  1. If you leave the majority of your assets to your children, your spouse may feel she’s being left with nothing. This can feel frightening and stressful for a surviving spouse because she may worry about how to support herself going forward.
  2. If your plan is designed to first take care of your spouse, with the remainder left to your children after your spouse dies, your children may feel as though their step-parent is robbing them of their “rightful” inheritance.
  3. If you leave assets for your spouse in trust and name a child as trustee, the spouse may feel as though the child is controlling his or her property, giving rise to conflict.
  4. If your plan is designed to distribute assets to your children only after your spouse dies, consider carefully the age difference between your spouse and kids. If the age difference is not substantial, there is a chance that your children may never receive an inheritance because the spouse could outlive them.
  5. If you leave some or all of these assets to your children, your spouse may feel that your children are taking what belongs to her. She may feel a sense of ownership over certain assets even when the assets were held in your name alone.

As you create your estate plan, we can help you with a strategy that accomplishes your goals while minimizing the risk of conflict. Check out our client testimonials page today to learn more about how we have helped previous clients achieve their estate planning goals.