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Estate planning pitfalls for blended families

Many people in California have been divorced and then gotten remarried. While this is far from unusual in today's society, it can and does pose some often tricky situations when it comes to estate planning and handling estates after one spouse in a remarriage dies. explains that a common problem couples with children from prior marriages or relationships make is blindly choosing to designate each other as their beneficiaries after they die. If only one spouse has children and that spouse dies, there is no guarantee that the surviving spouse will share anything with the child of the deceased spouse. If both spouses brought children to the marriage, there is nothing stopping the beneficiary spouse from sharing more with their children than with the children of the spouse who died.

If one or both spouses brought children into the marriage and then had children together, the situation becomes even more complicated. The ties that the surviving spouse may feel to their biological children may well outweigh those to the stepchildren.

According to Fidelity, other issues may arise if one person did not update all beneficiary designations after a prior divorce. If this happens, a former spouse might end up being the beneficiary and that can often cause complications and heated emotions. Couples are encouraged to discuss these issues frankly and early on in their relationships, ideally even before they are married. Options other than making the spouses be each others' beneficiaries may bode better for long-term relations and ensuring each spouse's wishes are followed.

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