North Carolina residents who don't pay attention to their estate plan after getting remarried could accidentally exclude their children from it. Ideally, an individual will have at least a will. Dying intestate could result in the courts determining where a person's assets go. Even if a person has a will, it may not be the final authority on who receives an asset. If a beneficiary designation has been created, it will have the final say.
Beneficiary designations are generally used on retirement accounts, life insurance policies and similar assets. If a former spouse is named as a beneficiary, he or she gets the asset in question. Couples who own a home together generally share ownership of it. Therefore, if one spouse dies, the surviving spouse becomes owner of the property. However, an exception is made if the home is titled as a tenancy in common.
In such a scenario, an individual's ownership stake in a property could pass from a parent to a child from a previous marriage. A trust can be used to hold assets for a child until he or she is ready to receive them. It can also limit how an asset can be used if a beneficiary has poor money management skills. Regardless of it a person uses a will or trust, it is important to be as specific as possible when writing its terms.
The use of a trust or other estate planning document can make it easier to control where assets go upon passing. An attorney may help a person create or update a plan document. This can make it possible to create and maintain a plan that respects its creator's wishes.