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Updating an estate plan due to a marriage

| Sep 29, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Most people in Florida create a plan for their future. For some, this includes creating an estate plan to ensure that their wishes are known in a future in which they are no longer present. While many people may think that the completion of such a plan means they will not have to worry about it again, a variety of life changes could necessitate revisions. For example, when a person chooses to marry, revising his or her wills and related documents could be an important step in protecting their loved ones.

An unintentional disinheritance

Depending on the parameters of an initial plan and state laws, failing to revise it could leave the surviving spouse at a financial disadvantage. If the estate passes to the children from a previous relationship with the expectation that they will provide for the spouse, he or she could be left with limited resources. Similarly, children from a previous marriage could essentially be disinherited if the estate passes to the spouse with the expectation that the spouse will provide for the children.

Protecting all family members

There are ways to avoid this. For example, a marital trust could separate assets for the surviving spouse that could revert to the children upon the former’s death. A pitfall of this option, however, is that the funds in the trust — that were expected to then pass to children — could be depleted, for example. Another option is to purchase a life insurance policy with the spouse as the beneficiary.

The role of a professional

While there are a variety of options regarding an estate plan in Florida, what may seem like a relatively minor mistake or oversight could ultimately have significant consequences. Because of this, many people choose to ask an attorney with experience with the process to carefully examine their individual situations. After that, they can then work together to create a plan that best meets their wishes and needs.