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If you have been through a divorce and find yourself at the threshold of marriage again, before you say “I Do” there are many decisions to be made. One that shouldn’t be overlooked is modifying your estate plan.
Second marriages and blended families present many issues when it comes to estate planning. You would like to take care of your spouse and your children, but letting them work it out after you are gone is a recipe for disaster. For that reason, communication is key. You should have open communication with your spouse to discuss your assets, goals for the future and how you would like your assets to be distributed once you are gone. If possible, you should also consult with an estate planning attorney to discuss your options before getting married.
One of the biggest concerns in estate planning for second marriages is making sure each spouse’s share of the estate ends up with the desired beneficiary. Traditional estate planning distributes an estate to the spouse and then the children. After the spouse dies, the surviving spouse can adjust the documents to disinherit whomever he or she chooses—including the deceased spouse’s children. There are trusts called family protection trusts that can be used to make sure your assets stay in your bloodline, should you choose.
You also want to make sure that if your previous spouse was listed on your important legal documents such as the health care proxy and power of attorney that you make the appropriate changes are made.