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What Does My Second Marriage Mean for My Children’s Inheritance?

We hear this question from our estate planning clients quite often. The scenario is usually something like this: A divorced man with two children from a previous marriage marries a divorced woman with one child from a previous marriage. They plan to have children of their own. Each wonders, if I predecease my spouse, what will my children inherit?

Let’s imagine, from our example above, that the couple had two additional children before the husband passed away. Here’s what would happen without a marital agreement, a will or an estate plan:

Under Nevada’s succession law, the husband’s property would most likely be considered community property. All community property with “right of survivorship” would pass in its entirety to the wife. This happens automatically with any joint bank accounts, but could include stock portfolios, 401(k), IRA, and real estate. Let us imagine that the wife had right of survivorship on all major assets.

The husband’s property without “right of survivorship” would pass one third to the wife, and the remaining two thirds would be divided equally among his children from the first and second marriages. Children of the wife would not inherit unless the husband had legally adopted them. But, in our example, only a mere fraction of the husband’s property passes in this manner.

Eventually, the wife would pass away and all the major assets of the estate would go to her children from both marriages equally. The children of the husband’s first marriage would receive nothing.

This scenario is very good for the children of the second marriage and the wife’s children from her first marriage, but it excludes the husband’s children of the first marriage from any kind of meaningful inheritance. Of course, with proper planning, the husband could easily have avoided such unfair results.

At Tyrell Law, PLLC, our attorneys understand how important it is to have an estate plan crafted to meet your specific needs. If you’re concerned about ensuring a proper legacy for your various loved ones, we can help.  To schedule an appointment, call us at 702.382.2210 or contact our Las Vegas office online.

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