Californians with children from a previous marriage should seriously consider updating their estate plan when they remarry. California parents in blended families often want to leave most of their estate to their children, but also provide for their current spouse. There are a lot of ways in which a remarried parent can achieve these goals. One strategy is a QTIP trust, in which the parent's surviving spouse is given a life interest in the couple's home and other assets. When the surviving spouse passes away, the home and other assets in the trust are distributed to the children.
Whenever a person remarries, it is also very important to review the designations of beneficiaries in life insurance policies, retirement plans and annuities. Failing to change these designations can result in assets going to a former spouse, which is rarely the desired result.
It is a good idea for a remarried parent to make provision in their estate plan for personal property items with sentimental value, regardless of their financial value. The disposition of such items is often the source of family disputes after a person dies. One of the best ways to deal with this issue is to prepare a detailed list of such items and incorporate it into the estate planning documents.
At my Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, I have assisted many remarried parents with estate planning issues. With over 25 years of experience in estate planning, trusts and wills, I understand the issues presented in estate planning for blended families. You can find more information about my estate planning practice on my law firm web page.