Remarriage can mark an exciting new chapter in life. It can also, however, create some tricky estate planning issues. Have you considered how you can assure your assets end up where you want them after your death? Let us discuss seven questions to ask before updating your estate plan after remarriage.
1. How can I make sure my children are not passed over should I die before my spouse? If you have children from your first marriage and you die intestate, which means you die without a will or trust, there may be a chance everything will pass to your current spouse, who may then leave everything to his or her children, bypassing yours. There may be several estate planning options to protect your children. For instance, a revocable trust can provide for you during your lifetime and then dictate the distribution of assets following your death.
2. How can my spouse and I divide our joint assets between the children from our first marriages? When both you and your new spouse have children from prior marriages and have acquired joint assets, there may be several options for division of the joint assets following both of your deaths including equal division among all children or splitting equally between the spouses, who then distribute their half to their children.
3. Who will get the marital home after I pass away? Florida law provides that a surviving spouse receive, at minimum, a life estate interest in homestead property upon the death of his/her spouse. This means that the surviving spouse may choose to live in the house for the rest of his/her life. If that is not the outcome that you desire, then planning options such as a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, or possibly a separation of ownership in the homestead property, are appropriate. A Q-Tip trust, which is a type of marital trust, may be an important part of the plan.
4. How can I provide for my much younger spouse without depriving my children of an inheritance? Having a life insurance policy where your children are the named beneficiaries may be a way to assure your children are provided for immediately following your death. This may prevent your children from waiting years to receive any inheritance following your death.
5. Can my spouse and I keep our assets separate? Utilizing prenuptial or postnuptial agreements and separate estate planning may be another option for couples who prefer to keep assets separate.
6. What else do I need to know? An important estate planning issue often overlooked by a remarrying couple can be planning for disability and long-term care, as the assets you bring to the marriage will likely be deemed assets by Medicaid and could erode your children’s inheritance if your spouse falls ill.
7. How can I prevent these estate planning issues from negatively impacting my marriage? Be sure to discuss everything in detail so that there are no surprises.
Our office can assist you and your loved ones in navigating their estate planning options. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment.