Statistics vary on the subject and it is hard to find a hard and fast number but it would be safe to say that upward of 40% of marriages ultimately end in divorce, and it is estimated that about 75% of these people remarry and most of them form blended families. Estate planning can be a sensitive and somewhat complex matter even when the family dynamic is simple, but when you have a blended family it can become even more complex.
When you are in love to the point of asking someone to marry you there is going to be a good bit of trust there as well, but you never know what the future holds. This trust can lead you to thinking that your new spouse will “do the right thing” by your children should you pass away if you were to simply merge your property with his or hers when you marry and then mutually create an estate plan. That is one option of course, but that plan could be changed after you passed away depending on how it was constructed.
If you are getting remarried and want to provide for your spouse while making sure that the interests of your children are protected you may want to consider entering into a premarital agreement delineating personal property and then create a QTIP or Qualified Terminable Interest Trust. You fund the trust and your spouse is the beneficiary. Should you pass on he or she will receive all of the income that is realized by the trust, and the beneficiary may also tap into the principal if certain needs arise unless this is expressly prohibited in the trust agreement. However, when the beneficiary dies the assets in the trust go to a person or people you chose when you created the trust, presumably your children.