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Avoiding estate-planning pitfalls when getting remarried

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Planning for the future can be challenging right now because so many things in life are likely up in the air or simply unknown. Nonetheless, this does not mean that individuals cannot take steps to protect what they currently have. Even though so much of life is not known, if an individual knows they are going to get re-married in the coming year, now is the time to consider updating or drafting an estate plan. Failure to do so could result in unintended consequences when it comes to the distribution of their wealth and property at the time of their death.

Estate-planning pitfalls to avoid

The first thing to address when updating an estate plan due to remarriage is to consider protecting your new spouse. Failure to do so could mean that assets could pass directly to one’s children. This could then disinherit a new spouse, which is probably what one does not want to do. Next, it is important to protect children that are from a prior marriage. If everything is left to the new spouse with the understanding that they would provide for the children, this does not mean this will occur. By spelling this out in an estate plan, one could avoid this unfortunate situation.

Third, one should protect against the depletion of assets. This could occur if a marital trust is established with the intention that it would pass onto their children after their deaths. However, these could be depleted if one is diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition or need long-term care. In order to avoid this, a life insurance policy may be the best bet when it comes to providing for children.

Protecting your estate from a previous spouse

Finally, one should protect their estate from their first spouse. While a divorce decree will disinherit the previous spouse when it comes to your estate, this does nothing for any document that has beneficiary designation. Those must be updated to ensure that one’s life insurance or retirement does not go to the wrong spouse.

Getting married is an exciting time, which is why individual want to avoid making it stressful time by bringing in documents such as a will, trust or power of attorney. Nonetheless, these are important documents to consider when re-marrying with an estate plan already in place. Updating an estate plan will not only protect you and your new spouse but also any children you might have or inheritances you seek to pass on.