Estate Planning For Second Marriages

Wedding rings on wooden table

Estate Planning For Second Marriages

Going through a divorce or losing a spouse is a serious life event that triggers the need to take another look at one’s estate plan and potentially make adjustments. Another major life event that warrants reviewing an estate plan is a second marriage. Estate planning for second marriages is necessary to ensure that the way you manage your estate is appropriate for the situation you are in and that it is fair for your beneficiaries. For assistance with estate plan management, consider reaching out to the Boca Raton, Florida, estate planning attorneys at Loughlin Law, P.A. by calling (561) 677-8384.

Divorce and Annulments Happen in the United States

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 689,308 divorces and annulments in the United States in 2021. This data leaves out information from California, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico, though, which means that the actual number of divorces and annulments was much higher. First marriages do not always last, but if one fails, a person may have the opportunity to find love again and even remarry.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics used a national survey to identify trends in marriage and divorce in the country. In the study, out of the 85% of the married cohort, 30% married multiple times.

Questions to Ask After a Second Marriage

A second marriage can offer a new start to life, but it can also change things, especially when it comes to estate planning. There are several questions to ask yourself concerning estate planning for second marriages. Some of these include:

  • Do you have children, and does your new spouse bring children to the marriage?
  • Do you already have assets set for your children? Do you want to keep these intact and unaffected?
  • Do you want to provide your stepchildren with assets?
  • What debt do you bring to the marriage, and will there be new debt accumulated after the marriage?
  • Do you have a will? Does your new spouse?
  • What assets are you not bringing to the marriage? What assets will your spouse keep individually?
  • Do you want to retitle current assets to include your new spouse’s name?

Estate Planning When Children Are Involved

It can be a tricky dance, in some situations, when a second marriage brings new children into a family that already has children. It is essential to have discussions with a new spouse about estate planning so that each individual is on the same page as to how an estate plan will be adjusted. For example, if one party has biological children who already have inheritance via a will or trust, the parent of the children may not want the inherence to change. Or, with the addition of children, a couple may want to combine their assets and have them equally distributed to all children. Likewise, when children are small, it is imperative to discuss who will assume care for them should their one parent pass away. Deciding who will manage a minor child’s inheritance if one spouse dies is also critical.

Also, a new spouse may expect to become a beneficiary in an estate plan. In this case, creating a marital trust could be helpful. This accounts for a new spouse becoming a part of an estate plan and having the benefit of a certain inheritance. It can also outline how an estate will provide for potential future children that a remarried couple may have together.

Updating Beneficiaries and Trustees

It is understandable and quite common for a prior spouse to be named beneficiary for various accounts you may have. Retirement accounts, insurance policies, and more may have a previous spouse as the benefactor. In a new marriage, it is likely that this designation should be changed. Whether this is done by replacing a former spouse with a new spouse or by establishing a trust, updating beneficiaries is essential. The same is true for trustees. If a former spouse is a trustee, then this, too, should be addressed in a second marriage.

Titling Property and Bank Accounts

Bank accounts and real estate will also need to be looked over, and determinations will need to be made as to who has access. While naming a new spouse on a bank account or adding his or her name to a title may feel like the natural and right move, it is important to understand the potential implications of this. Should one spouse pass away, then the other will take over these accounts or properties as the owner. This means he or she can make decisions on what happens to everything, and these decisions could go against the deceased’s wishes.

Because of the complexity that comes with estate planning, especially in situations where one’s life circumstances change — as is the case with a second marriage — working with a professional can be incredibly helpful. A Florida estate planning lawyer at Loughlin Law, P.A. knows the ins and outs of estate planning and can provide guidance on the options available to customize your plan to your specific needs.

Call a Florida Estate Planning Attorney Today

Estate planning may not be the easiest thing to do, but with assistance, it can go much more smoothly. The recommendation is usually that an estate plan be updated every three to five years when there are no major life events happening, but in the instance of a second marriage, immediate action is needed. The sooner, the better, too.

Estate planning for a second marriage is necessary, and to tackle all the intricacies, reaching out to an experienced professional may be a good way to have questions answered. If you would like help creating an estate plan or adjusting one you currently have following a change in your life, such as a second marriage, consider contacting the Florida estate planning attorneys at Loughlin Law, P.A. by calling (561) 677-8384.

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