Whether it is your first time or your third, marriage has a profound effect on your life. Many things may change from your address to your estate planning goals. While planning your wedding and honeymoon, take some time to make your estate plan reflect your new life. It’s important for the future of your new spouse and your children and other loved ones.
First, the old. How your previous marriage ended plays a part in your future estate planning. For example, sometimes divorce agreements and marital settlement agreements contain provisions related to future marriages. This may affect your estate planning for your new spouse.
The most obvious changes to your estate plan involve your Will. Major life events, like divorce or marriage, may lead to major changes in how you want your property to be distributed after death. You might consider setting up a testamentary trust for your children. Also, look at who you have named as personal representative or guardian. Will these people still be the right choices after the wedding bells have rung?
Your durable power of attorney and advanced medical directive also need attention. Here, again, look at the people you named to act on your behalf. You may want to add your new spouse as the primary agent or remove any agents from a previous relationship.
In addition, blended families often find that trusts help maintain balanced estate planning. For example, you may be wealthier than your spouse. In this case, consider establishing a trust that supports your spouse while protecting your children’s inheritance.
Last but certainly not least, beneficiary designations for assets like life insurance policies and IRA accounts should be updated.
Estate planning often impacts the children of the grantor or testator. Let’s say you have children from a previous marriage, as does your new spouse. If you want your children to inherit from you, make your estate plan reflect your new life. Putting a trust in place may protect your children’s inheritance. For example, if you pass away leaving everything to your spouse, will he or she take care of your children? If your surviving spouse remarries, will your hard-earned money land in the lap of someone who has no interest in your children? Trusts can be an effective solution in these cases but may not be for everyone.
Intestacy means that someone died without leaving a valid Will that provides for disposition of their estate assets. However, that person’s estate probably will pass through probate. Instead of a well-thought-out Will, Florida intestacy laws will determine who gets your belongings. With a blended family, it is probable that your estate will not go to the people you want.
As a Florida attorney board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates, Attorney John Mangan helps his clients develop complete estate plans that meet their needs. To schedule an appointment, call us at 772-324-9050 or fill out our Contact Form. Our office is conveniently located in Palm City, Florida. We also help clients throughout Florida, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie.