Problems can arise after the death of one spouse who has failed to plan or made no plans for the division and distribution of their assets, particularly if both spouses have adult children from a prior marriage.

For instance, bank accounts and or deeds to real estate interests that are not properly titled to allow them to pass to a surviving spouse could end up either “co-owned” by the surviving spouse and his/her adult step-children or solely owned by the spouse or the children, which may not be the intended outcome of either spouse. Failing to have a current spouse sign appropriate waiver forms on a 401(k) after remarriage could result in those benefits being paid to the current spouse (or his/her estate) instead of your adult children from a prior marriage, which may also be unintended.

These are just a couple of the many issues that frequently occur. Make plans to have your assets and investments reviewed with an estate planning attorney to ensure they are properly titled and that intended beneficiaries are property designated to comply with your intentions.