Question: I just got remarried and both my husband and I have children from previous marriages. I am worried that my son and daughter won’t get anything if I die first.
Answer: You must take special care to plan if you are in a second marriage because of the complex relationships between step-parents and step-children. We see two common problems: (1) you add your husband’s name on the house and bank accounts, and if you die first he gets everything, and your children get nothing; or (2) you leave everything to your children, and your husband gets nothing (if you can believe it, we have had kids evict their mom’s husband from the house after their mom died). One other thing, your husband has inheritance rights to your assets even if you have a Will leaving everything to your children (this is called “spousal election”). We have a special “Estate Planning Organizer” to help you and your husband work through these issues (yes, there are solutions, and they result in taking care of your husband and your children, which is what most people want). If you would like our free Organizer, please email me at [email protected] or call me at (517) 548-7400.
Glenn Matecun is a partner with the law firm of Matecun, Thomas & Olson, PLC in Howell. He is an attorney focusing on estate planning, elder law and senior Veterans’ benefits, and answers readers’ questions on legal matters affecting individuals, their families and their businesses. Listen to Glenn on Senior Law Radio, WMUZ 103.5 FM, every Saturday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Email questions to [email protected], or if your question is urgent, call (517) 548-7400. Visit us at www.MichiganEstatePlans.com. The information in this column is not intended as legal advice.