Critical estate planning for second marriages


If you are getting married later in life and you each have children from previous marriages, it is critical that you do some estate planning to make sure your children receive some of your wealth. A prenuptial agreement may or may not be part of this planning.


Attorney Tom Olsen: Chrissy, I had another call and this is getting to be one of the most common calls I get from people who were upset, and it usually involves this, is that their dad got remarried later in life, and as you might imagine new wife survives their dad, their stepmom survives dad. During dad's lifetime, he's making promises about what the kids are going to get when he dies someday, and guess what? Dad passes away and kids are not getting what they thought they were going to get.

Chrissy: Well, because he didn't put it in writing.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Didn't put it in writing. Failed to plan for taking care of his kids and as it turns out--

Chrissy: He spoke the plan, but didn't put the plan down in paper.

Attorney Tom Olsen: That's right, and that's so important when you get married for a second time, because guess what? Stepmom's has got kids of her own, now she ends up with everything. Guess who's getting it when stepmom passes away?

Chrissy: You know what? That's not fair.

Attorney Tom Olsen: It's not fair.

Chrissy: It's not fair and that's why it is so important for everybody out there. It may not be our listeners, but it could be family members. If you are in the situation where you've gotten remarried, period, and you want to be able to do it so that it's fair and equitable for everybody, it must be in writing. It could be something as simple as a will or it could be a trust, but whatever, it's so important to put it in writing because speaking the words is not going to get it done.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Either before you get married or certainly after you get married, you need to sit down with your new spouse and have this conversation, say, "Look, we brought these different things into the marriage." Whether they're property, whether they're cash, whether there's IRAs. "Hey, this is what I want to do for you, but I want to make sure my kids are taken care of too."

You need to sit down with an estate plan attorney and make sure that that happens. Kids are very, very disappointed and you know? It's a shame. I'm sure they love their dad and adore their dad, but man, this is leaving a bad taste in their mouth. To our listeners out there, if you were into a second marriage and you guys have kids from previous marriages, sit down, have this conversation about who gets what when you're both passed away, then meet with an attorney and put it in writing and make sure it happens that way.

Chrissy: That's exactly right.