Estate Planning for Second Marriages

Estate Planning for Second Marriages

Getting married is a joyous occasion. While a second marriage is another opportunity to enjoy life with your chosen companion, it could also come with certain financial challenges. In particular, a second marriage usually requires a new estate plan. Your new marriage allows you to update the plan to reflect your family and the changes in your life.

Contact Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP today to learn more about how our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys in New York can help you with estate planning for your second marriage in a free initial case review.

Estate Planning Considerations for Second Marriages

When planning a second marriage or after marrying your new spouse, considerations that you should review when preparing a new estate plan include:

  • Assets you and your spouse own – By the time you reach a second or subsequent marriage, you and your spouse may have accumulated significant assets. Take a full inventory of each other’s assets and liabilities, including insurance policies, brokerage accounts, and retirement plans.
  • How you will manage finances during your marriage – Decide whether you and your new spouse will comingle your funds or keep your finances separate. This could become a critical issue if you still have financial obligations to your prior spouse, such as alimony or child support payments.
  • Estate planning goals – In a first marriage, you may want all of your assets to your spouse upon your death. However, in a second marriage, you may have children from the prior relationship you do not want to leave out. Determine where you want your assets to go upon your death and what type of financial support you want to provide after your passing.
  • Beneficiary designations – You may have significant assets that pass outside the probate process. Review your beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, annuities, pensions, bank or brokerage accounts, and other financial instruments. You may need to change designations from your previous spouse. Depending on the language in your divorce decree, you might be required to maintain some policies with your former spouse as the beneficiary.

Why It’s Important to Update Your Estate Plan After a Second Marriage

One of the primary reasons for updating your estate plan for a second marriage is the fact that many of your existing estate planning documents may leave some or all your assets to your prior spouse. When people get married for the first time, their estate planning usually ensures that their spouse is provided for in the event of an untimely death or emergency. While you may want to maintain some of your previous arrangements, you likely want to change the recipient of your primary assets, such as your home.

If your second marriage occurs later in life, you may prefer your adult children to inherit a significant portion of your estate. But when you remarry, your new spouse is entitled to claim an elective share of your estate. Your new spouse may have similar considerations and it can be difficult to determine what is fair in a second marriage and estate planning. Even if you and your new spouse wish to provide for one another, you should still speak to an estate planning attorney to update your estate plan to meet your goals.

Talk to Our Experienced New York Estate Planning Attorneys Today

If you have questions about what to do with your estate plan in preparation for or following a second marriage, discuss your circumstances with an experienced New York estate planning lawyer to learn more about your legal rights and options. Call Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP or contact us online today for a free, confidential consultation.

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