When you think about estate planning during current times it is important to understand the realities of the contemporary family dynamic. A few generations ago, in the overwhelming majority of cases there would be a surviving spouse who had been married to the same person all of his or her life. The planning would involve transferring the assets from this matriarch or patriarch to his or her children and grandchildren. This was a pretty straightforward situation, and of course this scenario still plays itself out very frequently.
However, divorce has become extremely common in the United States. Statistics surrounding the subject vary depending on the source, but it is safe to say that anywhere from 40% to 50% of all marriages are ending in divorce these days. Most people who get divorced have children, and the majority of them get remarried. As a result, blended families are very common and when you are a member of a blended family planning your estate can be a bit more complicated than it is for some others.
The prenuptial agreement has gotten a bad rap in some circles, with the innuendo being that it is selfish to ask someone to sign such an agreement simultaneous to making wedding plans. However, if the property of two people who are getting married for the second or third time is allowed to dissolve into community property there are no protections in place for the children from previous marriages.
As stated above, upwards of half of all marriages end in divorce so we have proof of the fact that people don’t always see things the same way that they did on their wedding day some years down the line. Your responsibility to your children is something that doesn’t change when you get remarried. If you want to make sure that they are provided for after you pass away you would do well to arrange for an appointment with an estate planning attorney to discuss your options before you tie the knot again.