Are you planning to remarry, or have already remarried? If so, there are three essential points about estate planning and remarriage that you may need to understand and discuss with your partner. You should also hire an attorney with experience in estate planning and remarriage so that you can help ensure that the wishes of you and your spouse are protected and will be carried out.
1. Protect children from prior marriages. A very common issue regarding estate planning and remarriage is how can the parties ensure that children from prior marriages are protected in the event that their parent dies and is survived by the new spouse. Without appropriate estate planning in place, you can imagine a scenario where one spouse with children from a prior marriage dies and, after inheriting the entire estate, the surviving spouse disinherits those children by leaving everything only to the natural born children of the surviving spouse.
2. Protect your new spouse. Another common issue regarding estate planning and remarriage is ensuring that the new spouse is protected after the remarriage. If, after remarriage, one spouse dies before updating his or her will and beneficiary designations to include his or her new spouse, it is possible the new spouse is left without the inheritance his or her spouse wanted. For example, if the life insurance policy was not updated to replace the ex-spouse’s name with the current spouse’s name, it is possible the life insurance proceeds will be paid to the ex-spouse.
3. Protect your health care wishes. A final issue regarding estate planning and remarriage that should be addressed may be the importance of having an advanced health care directive and/or living will in place. A remarriage can increase the possibility that there will be some internal disagreements within the family as to the medical decisions being made by one spouse when the other is incapacitated. With the appropriately drafted legal documents, spouses can lay out their specific wishes regarding healthcare decisions and medical treatment and eliminate the potential for conflict.
If you have remarried or are planning to remarry, our office can help you reevaluate your estate plan to reflect your change in life circumstances. Please get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment.