For North Carolina residents who have had success in life and accrued a healthy nest egg and substantial assets, it is important to understand the importance of estate planning. Whether that is using wills, trusts or other means to protect their interests and the interests of loved ones, it is key to be prepared. A common complication in these matters is if there is a divorce or a spouse has died and the person remarries. While this is generally a positive for their personal life, it can add a layer of complexity to the estate plan. There are fundamental mistakes that can be avoided with proper foresight.
Avoid disputes by knowing how to update an estate plan based on circumstances
Although updating an estate plan does is not a guarantee to prevent disagreements between a testator’s children and a new spouse, it can address common challenges. It should be obvious to update the estate plan after a remarriage, but people might not take that step. Beneficiaries will need to be added. Changes as to how assets are split must be changed. Insurance policies and retirement accounts are frequently separate from the estate plan meaning the beneficiary listed on those accounts gets the proceeds regardless of what the will says. This also needs updating.
How heirs are treated in the document is a common source of discontent. For successful people who are embarking on a second or subsequent marriage, there could be limits to what is left to the new spouse in the estate plan. An example could be the marital home that the testator wants to leave to his or her children and not to the new spouse. It is not a requirement that everyone get an equal share in a will or trust. Regarding a trust, a person might have certain requirements like getting a degree from a secondary institution or staying free of drugs, alcohol or other addictions. Finally, knowing the gift-giving limits and when to use it could save on taxes after death. This is important with the possibility that laws and limits change in the coming years.
For help with estate planning when remarrying, having advice is imperative
With wills and trusts, the last thing a person wants if they have created a comprehensive estate plan is to have family members in rampant and acrimonious dispute. This can happen if there is a remarriage and the document is not updated to reflect the new situation. To understand the pitfalls of failing to update the plan and moving forward with doing so, it is useful to have professional help after the remarriage.