Drafting an estate plan is important for everyone to consider; however, additional important considerations related to planning process may arise for couples that are in their second marriage. Some tips to consider for estate planning following a second marriage can be helpful. Though second marriages are increasingly common, the estate planning issues that can arise as a result of a second marriage may not be as common.
It is important to continuously update an estate plan as life changes arise. An estate plan, and a will that is part of it, should changes based on the wishes and intent of an estate planner, which may change following a second marriage or other major life events. It is important for an effective estate plan to remain current. It should take into account changes in the family and may need to address children from a previous marriage or other concerns couples entering a second marriage may have.
Following a second marriage, if the couple comingles finances, it can create risks related to division of those finances, which can be further complicated based on community property laws in states that follow community property laws, such as Texas. Some couples may choose to have a joint account for shared expenses, such as the mortgage and others and manage individual accounts for other expenses. A will can direct how finances should be divided which can protect surviving children.
Additionally, if a spouse remarries following the loss of a spouse, it may be important that children are protected, which can be accomplished with a trust. A trust can also help in circumstances when there are children from prior marriages to protect and the spouses do not pass at the same time. A family home can also be protected for a surviving spouse through a trust. Given the number of helpful estate planning tools, it is important to continually update an estate plan as life changes.
Source: Forbes.com, “Second Marriage And Estate Planning: 5 Things You May Not Have Considered,” Mark Eghrari, June 2, 2017