Divorce is growing common in the United States and almost everyone knows at least person that has been, or is preparing to go, through a divorce. However, getting divorced does not always mean that a person will never marry again which means additional precautions must be taken for children of the first marriage. In the state of West Virginia, proper estate planning can help ensure that the children of your first marriage will not be neglected if you pass away while married to a second spouse.
There are many reasons why estate planning in West Virginia might take place during a second marriage even if plans were made for emergency during a first marriage. For one thing the primary beneficiaries might have changed since an ex-spouse should be immediately removed from all life insurance policies or retirement accounts. The second reason is that by West Virginia law the spouse is entitled to one-half of all property if no will is made. This means that even if you intended for children of a previous marriage to receive the bulk of your estate or all of your estate they will only receive one-half.
While an individual should always be concerned about their surviving spouse, it is important to remember all children. Even though many blended families concentrate on being unified and sharing it is common for people to want their own blood to benefit from the legacy that they have built for them. When starting the estate planning process in West Virginia it is important to look out for your spouses future without you while providing for your children.
There are many different ways to leave assets to children from previous relationships and a surviving spouse. One way is to create legally binding wills that cannot be changed. These wills can promise that upon the death of either survivor all property left to them by their spouse should be returned to the spouses blood relations.
Another way to provide for both children and a spouse is to set up a trust for your surviving spouse. This trust will give them access to funds that will help them continue their current standard of living while providing additional money to help them through their grieving period and future emergencies. The remaining assets and real estate property can be left to children. In this situation it is often best to leave instructions to allow the surviving spouse to continue living in the joint home or even consider leaving the home to the spouse if the estate has more than one property.