Whether it is due to divorce or a spouse passing away, many people end up in multiple marriages, often later in life. Having a blended family can come with challenges that may continue after you are gone. If you are getting remarried, it is important to make sure you update your estate plan to reflect your wishes and protect everyone’s interests. An estate law attorney can help you figure out which areas of your estate plan need to be changed and assist you with updating important documents.
Discuss Estate Planning with Your Spouse
It is critical for both spouses to change their wills when they remarry. If you have children the situation may be complex, so it is important to take certain things into account before creating a new will. It is a good idea for you and your fiancé or spouse to take an inventory of your own assets and debts and discuss how to handle them. Talking about your finances and being open and honest before you take any action can help you save a lot of headaches and help you avoid hurt feelings. Some important things to consider include:
- Life insurance polices
- Retirement accounts
- Investment accounts
- Real estate
- Other assets
You should also discuss what each of you would like to leave to any children you have, your wishes in the event of your incapacitation, and the arrangements you prefer after your passing.
Documents to Update
Once you and your spouse have talked it out, schedule an appointment with an estate planning attorney. Some of the vital documents that should be updated by both spouses include:
- Powers of attorney for healthcare and finances
- Advance medical directives
- Beneficiaries on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, pension accounts, annuities, and any other accounts
Trusts and Other Documents
Even if you do not have a lot of assets, you should consider setting up a living trust, especially if you have children. If you have substantial assets, a prenuptial agreement may be a good solution to ensure your children receive the inheritance you intended. Living trusts lawyers can explain the benefits and drawbacks of different types of trusts and which ones may be best for your specific situation.
Special Considerations if You Are Divorced
If you are divorced and your divorce settlement agreement specifically names an ex-spouse as a beneficiary on certain insurance policies or accounts, you may run into problems if you try to change them. In this case, it is essential to speak to a divorce attorney. A lawyer can determine whether the changes you want to make will violate your divorce decree. If you cannot change beneficiaries, purchasing additional life insurance policies and opening new retirement accounts (depending on your age) may be advisable.
Dealing with estate planning after remarriage can be overwhelming. At Carosella & Associates, our divorce attorneys, estate planning lawyers, and wills and trusts attorneys can help you sort it all out and create a plan that works for you and your family.