Estate Planning for Second Marriages

Life Transitions Planning

Getting remarried can be a joyous event, but it can also make estate planning more complicated. Adding additional family members to your life can make it much richer and happier However, when deciding how to provide for the surviving spouse at the death of the first, and how your combined estate shall be divided amongst your desired beneficiaries at the death of the second, that’s where things can get pretty sticky.

Here are some things you should consider when revising your estate plan to take into account the newest additions to your family.

  • Alert your family as to your plan. Don’t let your children from a former marriage be surprised by any changes you make to your estate plan when you get remarried. Upon your death, it may cause a hard feelings between your surviving relatives and may even result in lawsuits, so lay out your plans ahead of time so all your beneficiaries will have time to come to terms with what you plan to do with your assets.
  • Talk to your spouse. There will be issues that you will need to work out with your new spouse in order to make sure things will go smoothly and he or she will be able to live comfortably should something happen to you.
  • Consider using a Living Trust. A Living Trust is the best way to provide for your new spouse without the risk of disinheriting your children from a previous marriage. Using a simply will that leaves everything to your new spouse upon your death provides no protection against the disinheritance of your children from a previous marriage. This is one of the single most common estate planning mistakes people can make.
  • Figure out your goals. Every family is different. You may not want to leave any money to your children and instead give it all to charity. This is something that you and your spouse need to work out and discuss with all of your children. You want to be able to meet your own goals, after all, without making your children upset that you’ve left them out or failed to plan for them.
  • Talk to a professional. Because blending families makes estate planning much more complicated in many instances you may want to talk to someone who knows all the ins and outs of it all and can give you professional and reliable advice on dealing with your assets. It may cost more up front, but it can make a big difference in the long run for family members.
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