Roughly 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. However, a substantial number of people still believe in love and remarry. In addition to renting tuxes and auditioning DJs, take a few minutes to consider what’s involved when estate planning for second marriages. Your heirs’ future may depend on it.
Issues Involved in Estate Planning for Second Marriages
Where your estate planning is headed depends on where you’re coming from. Did you have a long first marriage? Are you paying or receiving spousal support? And, especially, do you have children from previous relationships?
- Former Spouses. If your previous marriage ended in divorce, have your estate planning attorney review your settlement documents. Are you on the hook for anything? Child support and spousal support are common, but you and your former spouse may also have made arrangements about retirement funds and other assets that may affect your new marriage.
- Children’s Needs. It’s especially important to consider children from prior relationships. Do you want them to inherit any of your property or money? Don’t rely on promises that your new spouse will “do the right thing” for your children. Get it in writing.
- New Spouses. Your attorney can explain estate planning strategies that take care of your current spouse and your children.
Let’s look at some specific ways to handle estate planning for second marriages.
Fortunately, your lawyer can discuss estate planning tools that will help you achieve your estate planning goals. Things like:
- Wills. Make sure your Will reflects your current marital status. If you want to make sure your children inherit something, you might consider establishing a testamentary trust in your Will.
- Trusts. Some trusts provide protection for both your spouse and your children. One example is the qualified terminable interest property trust (QTIP). This provides support for the surviving spouse for the rest of his or her life. It also provides for the trust assets to pass to other beneficiaries upon that spouse’s death. People with children from prior marriages often use this trust. Other trusts may be used also. Keep in mind that trusts are complicated and should be set up by an attorney.
- 529 Accounts. You can provide for your children’s future educational needs through a 529 account. If you pass away before your children head off to college, you may preserve the money they may need instead of having it become part of your probate estate.
In addition to estate planning, make sure the beneficiary designations on your financial accounts and insurance policies are up to date. This is extremely important because beneficiary designations trump your Will.
Talk with an Attorney Before the Ceremony
Contact the attorneys at the Dillon Law Group, PLC to discuss estate planning for second marriages. We give our clients the personalized attention they deserve. Call us at 757-962-4796 to schedule an appointment or use our Contact Form to let us know you’re interested. We assist clients in Virginia Beach, Newport News, and surrounding areas.