Estate planning can be complicated if you’re married because you and your spouse may not agree on how you should split up your assets.
For instance, one woman got married, had a daughter, and then got divorced. She later got married again and had a son. That marriage lasted for 20 years and then she and her second spouse began doing their estate planning.
Her goal was to keep things equal, leaving 50% of her assets to her son and 50% to her daughter. However, her husband did not agree. The daughter was just his stepchild, after all, and he thought that her birth father may still leave money to her. He said that he wanted to give about 66% to his son and the other 34% to his wife’s daughter. He felt that would be fair.
A situation like this raises a lot of questions. Do they need to agree in order to complete their estate plan? If they don’t agree, does the person who lives longer just get to do whatever they want, revising the estate plan after their spouse dies? Should they put the assets in a trust to make sure they get distributed the way they desire? Is there a compromise they can reach?
Everyone’s situation is unique, but answering these questions can help guide you if you find yourself in a similarly complex situation. Make sure you understand all of the legal options you have and the steps that you can take to create an estate plan that you and your spouse can both be comfortable with.