Second marriage and estate planning in DC: what I need to know?
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It is well known that Estate Planning plays an important role in any marriage (and if it doesn’t, you have a huge flaw), but this is even more important in a second marriage.
If you don’t have an Estate Plan in place, the alternative when you die is that the State you are in will use its laws to dictate financial decisions about who will receive your property and assets… something we want to avoid.
So today I’ll talk to you about what to consider for your estate planning if you are getting married a second time (and for example, have children from your first marriage), remember that if you are in Washington D.C. you can consult with me to come up with an appropriate plan to secure your wishes when you are gone.
7 important points to keep in mind when creating an estate plan on a second marriage
When you marry a second time, questions arise that cannot be overlooked when discussing an estate plan. It’s important for you and your partner to know what to ask yourselves before thinking about an estate plan (or updating your current one).
Here’s a list of issues you should discuss with your partner before you sit down and find an attorney to help you with estate planning:
- Will you continue to hold your assets individually or will everything pass into both of your names?
- What assets will you leave to each of the children you have separately?
- Will you have more children together? If they are going to have them, what assets will they leave to them?
- Will they bring personal debts into the second marriage or do they expect to acquire new debts together?
- Do either of you have a will? Do you will update it? Do you create a new will?
- Will they continue to work with current financial advisors or will they seek a new one so they can manage the estate plan together?
- What other estate planning documents do you need for this second marriage?
By sitting down and asking these questions together, you will be able to understand what personal perspectives you have on estate planning. As a general rule (and from the experience I have seen with some clients), it is best to discuss this issue before the marriage, avoiding conflict later on.
Another point in favor of doing the above, is that this will help them know if they need to draft a prenuptial agreement, protecting individual assets and interests.
By reviewing the above questions, you could take the opportunity to review or create an inventory of your assets (as you can see in 10 basic aspects of estate planning) and in this way, be clear about what each of you brings to your second marriage.
This will also serve to determine how the assets will be distributed in the Estate Plan and what will happen to each of the partners´ assets when one of them has passed away.
Estate Planning For Second Marriages With Children
Having children from your previous marriage can be a complicating factor in Estate Planning with your new spouse (or husband).
An example of this would be if you would like to leave some of your assets to your children, but your partner would also like to do the same, i.e., take a portion of the assets and leave them to your children (from the first marriage).
Another complication that could arise would be in the case of naming someone to administer the assets on behalf of your minor children if either of you dies.
So if you already have children from your first marriage, you will need to consider the decisions you have made for them in your estate plan and how they will affect what your new partner inherits from your estate.
A simple example would be for you to update your will or also to create a marital trust, ensuring that your partner receives a share of your estate while preserving what you will inherit to your children.
An important point to keep in mind is the age of your children when doing estate planning in your second marriage-remember that if you and your partner have minor children, the two of you will have to decide who will administer their estate if one (or both) of you die unexpectedly.
If you have adult children, you might consider giving them part of your inheritance during your lifetime, minimizing risks and problems in a few years.
Are you sure your estate plan has no gaps? Check it out!
If you consider yourself good at planning for your future, I invite you to review your estate plan now for any loopholes that may exist (in consultation with a specialized attorney) that could put your assets at risk.
For example, in the event of your death and you don’t have a will or trust over your estate, you could leave your family’s inheritance to the laws of the state instead of what you wanted to establish, which can make the difference in your partner receiving all of your assets, leaving your children with none of it.
If you contribute a lot of assets to your second marriage and you are unsure if there will be conflicts at the time of distribution in the event of death, one of the best options you have is to create a trust.
You should seek out an estate planning attorney to help you decide if a trust is necessary or not, or if there is another way for your children to receive their inheritance (which you decide what it will be).
If you want to know more I invite you to read about what it is and what are the 10 most important things you should know about Estate Planning in my blog.