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Biddle Law Estate Planning Blog

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Estate Planning and Second Marriages

Estate planning can be difficult, but it becomes even more complicated when you are planning after your second marriage. There are different issues you need to address when creating a plan after your first marriage. For example, you may want to plan for children born from the first marriage or allocate assets away from certain individuals. Below are a few things that you should consider when creating your estate plan after a second marriage.

Don’t Forget to Make Changes

Some people forget that they need to adjust their estate plan after a divorce or marriage. Failing to make changes can result in illogical consequences. For example, you may not want to leave your assets to an ex-spouse, even though your estate plan still says that he or she should get everything. Making these adjustments is crucial to ensuring that your assets go to the right people and that your loved ones do not have to engage in litigation to ensure that your wishes are met.

Talk About Your Goals Regarding Your Estate Plan

The easiest way to have an estate plan that works for both spouses is to have a conversation about goals and desires for your plan. Although this conversation may be difficult or uncomfortable, it will help you both be on the same page when planning for your future.

As part of this process, you will want to review the plans you used in previous marriages. Of course, you should make changes if necessary, but having both spouses examine these plans can provide valuable insight into how your new plan may look.

Consider What Each Spouse Brought into the Marriage

In a second marriage, spouses are often more concerned about the property that they brought into the marriage. Assets and liabilities can be more substantial as couples get older. Age differences can also affect which spouse brings in more to the marriage in terms of property. Spouses of comparable age are often on similar footing regarding assets and liabilities, but not always.

Realizing which property should be kept separate in the estate plan will help you create a plan that meets everyone’s needs. You should also take the time to determine which assets will be co-mingled or joint as well. These assets will often be treated differently in the estate plan.

Check Account Designations and Titles

Some couples forget that they not only need to change their estate plan, but they may also need to modify the titles and associated documents for certain assets. For example, in joint checking accounts, the surviving account holder will often inherit the account entirely. When a spouse simply stops using the account, instead of removing his or her name, that can create issues when one ex-spouse passes.

You may also need to check into the beneficiaries for certain insurance policies or disability benefits. Social Security benefits may also be affected because you may or may not be able to rely on your ex-spouse’s work record. That designation often changes when you remarry.

Getting Help

There is a lot to think about following a second marriage. Your estate plan and related finances should be one of those things on your list. Contact Biddle Law to get the planning process started after a second marriage.

 


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