When parents remarry in Pennsylvania, they may accidentally disinherit their children if they do not update their financial accounts and estate planning documents. This can happen on both sides, since the spouse remarrying may have kids of their own as well.
CNBC notes that failing to update account beneficiaries is one of the most common ways parents disinherit their children. For starters, whatever remains in the 401(k) will go the current spouse unless they agree to let someone else become the beneficiary.
Another way that parents disinherit their children is by sharing accounts with their current spouse. It is only natural that spouses may add their partner’s name to bank accounts, but doing so may cause the money in the account to go to the surviving spouse alone after passing away. Even if children are listed as beneficiaries on the account, the wife may also need to pass, without changing the designated beneficiary, before the children could inherit any of the cash.
The house may also pass to the surviving spouse. Most spouses who own their home may do so jointly. However, if parents fail to leave a will behind, the property may end up going solely to the surviving partner as they are the last remaining owner. With proper estate planning, testate parents may decide what happens to their half in a home after they pass away.
Forbes recommends that parents use trusts to ensure their wishes are executed exactly as they wish in the end. Trusts require retitling assets, which helps to prevent all shared assets from automatically going to their surviving spouse. Some remarrying parents may even go a step further by signing prenuptial agreements and refraining from owning joint property to protect both sets of children in their blended families.