Even though Tennessee law protects a surviving spouse to a certain extent, you could still certainly make things extremely difficult for them. Failure to update your estate plan after a mid-life remarriage can be devastating.
Unfortunately, this happens too often because people do not take the time to simply create or update their plan after a life changing event such as a remarriage.
Take this scenario-
Steve and Susan were married for 25 years, and they had three children together, all of whom are now adults. Many years ago when their children were young, Steve and Susan both created wills naming each other as their sole beneficiaries. They divorced in their 50’s, and Steve remarried a few years later to Elizabeth. Steve was healthy and just didn’t get around to updating his estate plan. Unfortunately, he died suddenly in a car accident about a year after this remarriage. All of Steve’s assets, including the house he and Elizabeth were living in, passed to his adult children. Elizabeth received very little and was essentially forced out of the home when Steve’s children sold it.
Because Steve didn’t update his estate plan after the remarriage to Elizabeth, he unintentionally disinherited her and forced his new wife into a horrible financial situation. He could have arranged his assets so they would have gone to, and worked for all four of his loved ones – Elizabeth and his three adult children.
For example, Steve may have wanted the bulk of his assets to go to his children, but certainly would not have wanted the disruption to Elizabeth’s life by having her ousted out of the house in which they lived. He could have put his house, along with whatever funds were needed for its maintenance, into a Trust for her benefit during her lifetime, and left whatever assets he wanted to leave to his adult children. This would have allowed Elizabeth to live in and use the house as her own for the rest of her life, and upon her death, the house could have been left for Steve’s children if he wished.
Don’t let this scenario happen to your loved ones. Proper estate planning can keep your family out of conflict. Control your own legacy now by calling us or another good estate planning attorney.