When I am working with young families, my favorite question to ask the husband is “What is your favorite thing about your wife’s future husband? The result is always a few nervous smiles before I explain. This goes both ways; sometimes I pose the same question to the wife about her husband’s future wife.
I’m an estate planner. I often give advice about what would happen if my client would pass away. The truth for young families is that if one spouse dies, the other is likely to remarry at some point in time. So, ask yourself, what is your favorite thing about your spouse’s future spouse?
For me, the answer is simple – Nothing. I really don’t like anything about him. Sure, I would like for my wife to be able to move on (hopefully at least a few months later) and be happy. I trust her immensely. But that doesn’t mean I have to trust the new guy.
I carry life insurance. In my experience, most responsible parents do. The goal of purchasing the life insurance is so that my wife and children would be financially secure if I passed. That’s great. It allows me to sleep at night, which makes it worth the premiums.
That said, here’s something to consider: does it make sense to leave all the life insurance outright to your spouse? What would happen if she remarries and he turns out to be a jerk? Could he blow all the money? Could he leave her in debt? Could he divorce her and walk away rich?
Remember that the life insurance is often purchased for both the spouse and the children. My suggestion is often that my clients send some of the life insurance to a trust to benefit the kids, rather than to the spouse outright. The surviving spouse can still have control over the money, but her future spouse doesn’t.
As with many estate planning issues, this is a tricky conversation. However, I think it is an important one. Give some consideration to creating trusts for your family, so that you can truly make sure they are secure.