Wondering how that could be possible?  Rania Combs, a Texas Wills and Trusts lawyer, has a great blog post entitled “Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning Mistake Disinherits Child.”  Take the time to read the article – it is a quick read and very well done.  The article is especially poignant, as I have had more cases recently involving children from previous marriages.  Rania’s post is just one of several ways that Do-It-Yourself planning can harm a family and just one of several ways that no planning (or inadequate planning) can hurt a mixed family.

There are only two things I will add to Rania’s excellent post:

  1. Not only does Jack’s new wife have complete control of Jack’s assets and no obligation to use them for Rose’s benefit, but what if the new wife gets remarried?  If she remarries and doesn’t do any planning herself (or does typical planning), there is a very real likelihood that Rose won’t get anything.  I’m not just conjecturing . . . that is based on circumstances I’ve seen.
  2. Not only could Jack have set aside all or a portion of his estate in trust for Rose’s benefit, he could have set the trust up to protect those assets from Rose’s creditors, judgments, estate taxes in her estate, and even her own divorce.

Have you had this happen to you or know someone who has?  I am interested in the story, if so.  Please share via comment on this post or emailing me via our Contact Us page.