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Even if you are in a solid first marriage, it is important to be aware of how blended families can create unique estate planning issues.  Why? Consider the following example.  You pass away before your spouse and children.  Like most people, you want what you left behind to be available for your spouse, and then ultimately pass to your children.

But what happens if your spouse remarries?  Will your estate be used for your spouse’s benefit or will it also be used for the benefit of the new spouse?  Under Idaho’s community property laws, you have the right to decide how your portion of that community property will be used, and your spouse has the right to decide for his or her portion.  But if you leave everything to your spouse, and he/she remarries, whose money is being used?  Is your share of the estate being used to benefit the new spouse?   Will this new spouse care about acting prudently to preserve assets for your children?

Taking that scenario one step further, what happens to your money if your spouse passes away before the second spouse?  Does your money go to your children, or does it go to the second spouse or his/her children?

You may be confident that this could never happen to your spouse, mother or father.  I hope you are right.  However, as your loved one begins to experience some of the frailties of age, especially alone, plans and intentions can change.  Could he or she be susceptible to clouded judgment from loneliness, a decline in health and/or potential pressure from a suitor whose motives may not be entirely sincere? 

None of us can predict the future.  However, you are the one best qualified to determine what the risks are to your estate.  Come to a free, no obligation presentation and find out some of the common risks to an estate, and the simple solutions to avoid those risks.