If you have been divorced or widowed before and now met a new person that you would like to get married to, that is certainly something to celebrate. However, Minnesota residents in this situation should be sure to use their heads as much as their hearts when making this decision. If either you or your new partner have children from a prior marriage, it is extremely important that you engage in frank, open and honest discussions about your assets, debts and wishes for the future.
As explained by CNBC, if you remarry without an estate plan that has been well reviewed and communicated to your spouse, children and other pertinent parties, your wishes may never be executed. In many states, the surviving spouse is the default beneficiary of a person's estate if no documentation exists to state otherwise. Even if you and your spouse have discussed that you want certain things to be passed on to your children, your spouse is not required to ensure that happens unless your wishes are in writing via a will or trust.
There are several estate planning tools that allow you to balance the desire to provide for your spouse should they outlive you while also providing an inheritance to your children. Having this identified before you are married may also help avoid or minimize conflict between your spouse and your kids.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in Minnesota some things to consider about their future estate plans before they get married for the second or subsequent time.