People wishing to get married after a previous marriage may need to think differently about their estate planning activities and the tools they may need to create.

Remarried spouses frequently wish to leave heirlooms and assets to their biological or adopted children from a first marriage but may also wish to ensure that their new spouse is financially provided for after they die.

Limitations of wills for blended families

As explained by CNBC, a basic will commonly does not sufficiently allow for a person to outline their estate planning wishes if they have children from one marriage and a new spouse. The following scenarios highlights some potential pitfalls of using only a will. A person leaves all of their assets to their surviving spouse with the expectation that the assets will flow to their children when the spouse dies. The surviving spouse remarries and comingles assets, ultimately distributing them to other parties upon their death. A surviving spouse may not remarry but may sell the assets or otherwise spend them prior to dying. This results in nothing being left for the first spouse’s children.

The qualified terminable interest property trust

According to Policy Genius, a qualified terminable interest property trust may provide a remarried person the flexibility to provide for their new spouse and their children. With a QTIP trust, assets are titled into the trust and held for the person’s children, grandchildren or other heirs. Prior to asset passing to the deceased person’s children, however, the trust provides an income stream for the surviving spouse for the remainder of their life.