If you are planning to get married a second (or third) time, congratulations! While planning your wedding and honeymoon will no doubt monopolize your time, it is also essential to make time to sit down with an attorney to adjust your estate plan to reflect the changes in your life.
What Do I Need to Modify?
One of the first things you should do when you get married again, is to make sure that your new spouse is made beneficiary of all of your life insurance policies and retirement accounts. Failing to do so likely leaves your ex-spouse as the beneficiary. Also, unless you regularly meet with your attorney to update your will, there is a good chance that your ex-spouse stands to inherit the majority of your estate. It is important to make sure you create a new will to reflect your current plans.
Factors to Consider
- Your children from multiple marriages. If you have children from different marriages, the basic questions for your new will are: (1) what do you want to leave them?; (2) what are their ages and maturity levels; and (3) what is the best mechanism to deliver their inheritance? Some of your children may be adults, while others are minors. Whether to establish trusts and who to designate as the trustees will have to be on a child-by-child basis.
- A vast age difference between you and your new spouse. When there is a significant age gap between spouses, questions inevitably arise, especially when the older spouse has significant assets. A new will must anticipate an increased likelihood that there will be a challenge to the validity of the will in probate court, such as an undue influence argument.
- Any prior divorce decree and legal obligations therein (such as insurance benefits or property settlements). It is important to consider any continuing legal obligation that you have to your ex-spouse, especially if it was contained in your divorce decree. An effective will cannot be created when it violates a court order. Your lawyer must be aware of this decree and any other written agreements that you had with your ex so that the new will does not have a built-in invitation for litigation.
- Distributing personal property. It is important that you reducing to writing how heirlooms and other personal items should be distributed. A battle between your children can erupt over heirlooms, collectibles, sentimental items, and personal effects.
I can help you update your estate plan. I have guided clients for more than twenty years in the areas of estate planning, tax law, and family law. I have seen the mistakes that people make when they modify their estate plans, and I actively seek to avoid those traps. My team of professionals will examine every detail and help you develop your ideal plan. Call the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas at 847-392-5893 or visit our website to set up a consultation.