Washington State residents who have been married and divorced and who then meet a new partner to whom they want to get married should feel excited about having another chance at a happy and positive lifelong relationship. Many things can contribute to making a marriage work and for a blended family, one of those things may well be a solid estate plan.

As explained by Forbes, without an estate plan in place, it is common for a surviving spouse to inherit assets. There would be nothing to require that person to pass on anything to the deceased person’s children, making it possible that the kids could be disinherited even if that is not what their biological parent wanted. Fortunately, there are many robust estate planning tools available to avoid this type of situation.

Fidelity Investments recommends that couples have candid conversations early on about their wishes and their estate assets and debts. The conversations should cover a range of topics including how to balance providing for each other while leaving something for their respective children. If the couple is to have new children together, that adds yet another layer to the planning conversations. This should include guardianship for any minor children as well as what assets each child should receive and when.

It is also important to take note of any obligations to a former spouse that may be legally required per a divorce decree. For example, one person may be obligated to name a former spouse as the beneficiary on a life insurance policy or a retirement policy as part of their property division agreement.