Estate planning when parents have children from prior marriages

Many Lake Charles residents have been married more than once. In fact, nowadays, many couples in Louisiana and elsewhere have been married two, three and even four or more times. Remarriages often include children from prior unions, which can present certain challenges when it comes to estate planning.

A parent would obviously want to protect the inheritance of his or her children. In many situations, estate owners who have children from a prior marriage execute plans that include a Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) trust. Although this may not be the best choice for every family, it basically means that the assets of the first spouse to die are placed in a trust for the widow or widower of that spouse. The key factor is that these assets remain frozen until the second spouse passes away.

When the surviving spouse of the first spouse dies, the assets in the trust are then distributed to the beneficiaries the first spouse designated as heirs. People who have remarried others much younger than themselves might not opt for this type of plan because it might mean their own children will have to wait years (even decades) for their inheritance. In some circumstances, parents use life insurance policies to provide for their children's inheritances.

Estate planning laws vary by state, so anyone in Lake Charles or another Louisiana area might want to seek clarification on such matters before implementing a formal plan. With careful research, discussion and a well-designed plan, remarried couples can protect their assets and provide for children on both sides. An estate administration attorney can guide someone through the whole process, and remain available to assist with any changes or upgrades as needed.

Source:, "Estate Planning for Blended Families", Feb.7, 2017

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