If you have not followed recent news, American Top 40 Countdown star Casey Kasem was caught up in the middle of an estate planning tug-of-war between his current wife and children. (Read Here) Until late last week, his whereabouts were unknown to his children as he had been removed from his nursing facility. What Mr. Kasem’s situation well illustrates is the potential for legal conflict when dealing with second spouses, kids from prior relationships and aging parents. Particular planning is needed to mitigate ugly results.
Second Marriages Need Special Consideration – If a spouse is not the mother or father of your children, the goals and intentions may not be in sync. For example, there may be disagreements about burial locations, health decisions, visitation among other critical areas. Anticipating the potential for disagreement and developing a process for mitigation can avoid problems reaching a critical stage.
Everyone May Be Well Intentioned – Whether a second spouse or children, each may have legitimate concerns and claims. A good plan should attempt to balance the needs of each party.
Financial Choices – Determining an appropriate distribution plan may require particular focus. The distribution may need to consider how a surviving spouse is provided for and what if any distributions are made to children. Children may feel particularly sensitive about a surviving spouse receiving ‘their’ inheritance.
Lessons for Your Estate Planning
If is not an absolute that second marriages will create conflict with children from prior relationships; every dynamic is unique. Having said that, similar considerations and answers need to be addressed:
- What happens with money?
- How are the needs of the spouse balanced with other needs?
- How will health decisions be addressed?
At Estrada-Legal, PC we believe your family is your most important assets. Contact us at 602 635-7414 to discuss your planning priorities and needs.