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Keeping track of an estate plan when getting remarried

Remarriages and blended families are not uncommon in New York. With that comes certain issues that, if left unattended, can cause family disputes with rancor and the potential legal ramifications. Those who have gotten remarried, and have children from the previous marriage, will want to take steps to shield their children and avoid missteps that can cause negative consequences.

For those who did not have an estate plan and then got remarried, it is of even greater important to take those steps with estate planning strategies. By failing to follow this advice, children from the first marriage could find themselves left with nothing.

For older people, there is a good chance there are major assets, such as a home, retirement accounts, savings accounts, life insurance and more. Family collectibles and items of sentimental and monetary value will accumulate. Failing to address this with an estate plan or an updated estate plan could leave these items to the new spouse.

Steps to take include updating account beneficiaries on various policies. The listed beneficiary gets what is in the account. This comes before what the will says, so even if the will is adjusted, it could be the wrong person who gets the contents of the accounts.

With a home, it is imperative to know the state law for who gets it, and whether tenancy is a major factor when the original plan was to leave it to children. Items that the person owns should be specifically listed in the will. Trusts are also critical if there are management concerns. Perhaps, the presumed heir is not of age or maturity to handle a windfall. Then, a trust can be used to protect the property and the beneficiary.

No one is expecting a parent who has divorced or is a widow or widower to simply stop living. But, the person must take the necessary steps to protect their interests and make sure their property goes where they want it to go.

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