Passing along assets to your family members implies something different than it may have a couple of generations ago. Because of the fact that perhaps as many as 50% of marriages end in divorce these days the matter is not always as simple as the surviving spouse passing along the couple’s remaining assets to his or her children and grandchildren. Statistics indicate that around 75% of the people who get divorced remarry, and in the majority of these cases at least one of the individuals involved in the marriage has children from previous marriages.
As a result, one of the major things that you have to consider from an estate planning perspective when you are a member of a blended family is how you will protect the interests of these children from previous marriages. If you were to simply get remarried without having any type of prenuptial agreement in place the property that you bring into the marriage would become community property.
If you were to pass away before your spouse without any type of plan in place to specifically provide for your children there would be no guarantees with regard to the ongoing decision-making of your surviving spouse. He or she could get remarried and the interests of your children could steadily fall further and further out of the picture. It is also possible that your children could have a less than stellar relationship with your spouse, and this could impact the situation as well.
For these reasons it is a good idea to consult with an estate planning attorney when you decide that you’re going to get remarried. He or she will listen as you share your intentions and then explain your options to you with regard to how you can make sure that your children are provided for come what may.