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Remarriage and estate planning

After your mother died, you took care of dad. Now things have changed. Your dad remarried, and she also has grown children. The two of them are not wealthy, but they did get comfortable estates when their other spouses died. Is it appropriate to have a conversation with your dad about his estate plans now that he has remarried?

Frank and honest conversation during estate planning decisions may help avoid anger down the road.

Do not set expectations

You may have an idea about how your dad's estate plan will work, but it may not work that way. When people enter into second marriages, there is a rebuilding process between families. Even when the children involved are all adults, tensions may run high. Your dad will want to care for his new spouse, and he may expect your support in this decision.

Invite both sides to talk it through

Understand that your dad is not out to intentionally hurt you or your siblings; instead, he is making decisions with his new wife in mind. The best way to have this talk is with all affected people at one time. That way, there is no "he said, she said" scenario after death. The plans are clear, and everyone gets the same information at the same time.

Talk about a trust

Your dad may decide to set up a trust that holds money for you that is separate from his wife's claim. In this way, he can leave his children a designated amount of money and still provide for his wife. She may, in turn, do the same for her children. 

Open conversations about final wishes may not always turn out the way you want, but at least you know where you stand. Getting together with all interested parties and asking and answering questions may help ease the strain that a death often creates.

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