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Planning Your Estate After a Second Marriage

The combined factors of a high rate of divorce, longer life span, and  a higher amount of people eligible for remarriage result in a record number of second marriages. Before taking the plunge for a second time, you should be aware of some legal concerns:

Including Your New Spouse in Your Estate Plan

Often there is the consideration between if the new spouse or adult children of the deceased should receive the assets. It may be expected that the children will benefit from the assets gained during the first marriage. However, the second spouse may not be able to provide for their own retirement after being widowed.

It has been established that the valid solution is to hold the estate “in trust” to benefit the surviving widow(er). Then the widow(er) will receive income from the assets included in the trust. Once the spouse dies, the trust may be terminated and anything remaining will be distributed among the adult children of the original author of the will.

Issue of Residence

A back up living arrangement must be considered in case of death of spouse. When someone remarries, the title to their residence is usually in the name of only one person. A common solution to this situation is to grant a life estate to the surviving spouse. When the surviving spouse dies, then the adult children or designated beneficiaries will receive the home. Providing life estate means that the surviving spouse becomes the owner of the home until they die. The family then is unable to sell the property or use it even if the surviving spouse remarries or moves out of the house.

Setting Up Prenuptial Agreements

The chance of a second marriage ending in divorce is above sixty percent. If you and your spouse decide to reconcile any financial or legal decisions before then, you may be able to avoid a complicated and expensive divorce proceeding.

Of course, a pre nuptial agreement traditionally establishes who receives which assets after divorce or death, but they may also be used to make agreements about financial troubles during the marriage. These inclusions are called “lifestyle clauses” and they can help set up spending guidelines. Unfortunately, the baby boomer generation have a difficult time financially because they often help their adult children and their aging parents financially. A lifestyle clause may be able  to regulate how much money can be given to other family members.

One major expenditure is a wedding–if one spouse pays an exorbitant amount on their child’s wedding, then both spouses may be put into a financially risky situation; surely threatening their retirement assets. It is best to think over these types of issues prior to marriage to ensure a smoother, more secure relationship.

Be sure to consult an estate planning attorney for advice on how to plan your estate after your second marriage such as the Estate Planning Attorney Scottsdale AZ locals turn to. They can help you design a prenuptial agreement before you enter into your next marriage as well in order to provide a smooth process for your and your new spouse. Consult an estate planning lawyer today to ensure you manage and update your estate properly.

Thanks to authors at Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys for their insight into Estate and Probate Law.

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