People in Minnesota with blended families should make sure that their estate plans are regularly reviewed and updated, especially after a major life event such as the birth of children, marriage or divorce. If they fail to update their trusts, wills, insurance policies and other documents, it can result in their assets going to a party other than whom an individual wants it to. For example, instead of the assets being transferred into the ownership of the current spouse, they may be passed to an ex-spouse.
Critical legal documents, financial accounts and insurance policies should be updated if there is a change in marital status. If there are children from prior marriages or relationships, the appropriate measures should be taken to make sure that they are able to inherit the assets intended for them.
Having just a will in place may not be sufficient for individuals who want to ensure that their biological children can inherit. If individuals have a will in place that gives all of their assets to their new spouse, that spouse can completely withhold the assets in the will from their biological children. The spouse is not required to give the biological children any of the assets.
The inclusion of trusts in an estate plan can help individuals ensure that their wishes are honored when they die. For example, a trust can be used to bequeath assets to a new spouse while he or she is alive and then have those assets given to the children when the spouse dies.
An attorney who provides estate planning and probate services may assist clients with developing an estate plan that ensures their assets are given to the intended recipients upon death. The attorney may advise which types of wills, trusts and powers of attorney should be included in a tailored estate plan.