Estate planning and second marriages

Second marriages result in a unique set of needs when planning for your estate’s future. In most cases, two families are brought together, which makes the process of allocating and distributing assets a bit more complex.

Planning for the financial wellbeing of your entire family requires you to have the right tools and resources to protect your assets, minimize estate planning costs, and ensure that all of your wishes are carried out.

Establishing your estate planning goals, communicating them clearly, and using the right planning strategies makes it easy to accomplish all of these objectives. 

Estate Planning Goals

Establishing estate planning goals with your second spouse is one of the best ways to prevent unwanted issues down the line. 

It’s important to agree on how your assets will be distributed in order to prevent confusion and get the most out of your estate planning efforts.

Many individuals have previous agreements with their former spouses, which increases the need for clearly defined goals in your second marriage. Determining how much you want to provide for your second spouse and stepchildren makes the process easier.

For many, this can be a difficult conversation to have. But in order to create a sound estate plan that protects you and your family, you and your spouse must fully disclose all of your intentions related to your future.

Estate Planning Strategies

There are many strategies that you can use when planning for your estate. Distributing your assets to your current and former spouses, children and step-children, and other family members requires that you put all of your wishes down in writing. 

Wills, trusts, and other estate planning instruments allow you to articulate how your assets will be distributed after your death. 

A will is an effective way to describe how personal assets will be distributed. It prevents issues that can arise when family members are left to determine this for you.

Trusts are an invaluable tool in any estate plan. They’re used to protect assets that are to be distributed to beneficiaries.

A trust can specify how those assets will be shared, and for a second marriage, a trust can allow you to distribute assets to all family members over time.

Using a trust helps your family avoid probate, which allows them to receive their asset distributions faster than when using a will.

Trusts can be used to allocate assets to family members from a first marriage. Multiple trusts can be used to distinguish between those assets to be distributed between the family from your first marriage and that of your second.

Credit shelter trusts and irrevocable life insurance trusts can also be used. Each offers a unique set of advantages and limitations that you need to be aware of. 

Estate Planning Needs

A well-developed estate plan must consider your needs in controlling your assets while managing your potential tax consequences. Tax exclusions may be available to you, and they can allow you to transfer assets while minimizing your tax burden.

An experienced estate planning attorney can help you determine the best options for your needs. Creating an estate plan for a second marriage requires the right legal documents and understanding how to maximize your estate planning results.

You can discuss your unique needs and objectives when planning for your estate. Working with an estate planning attorney provides the support needed when preparing for the future with your second spouse. 

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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