Have you recently remarried or are you planning to remarry? If your answer is yes to either of these questions, we would like to share three essential points about estate planning and remarriage that you may need to understand and discuss with your partner. Most importantly, you should hire an attorney with experience in estate planning so that you can ensure that the wishes of you and your spouse are protected and will be carried out.
1. You may want to protect your children from prior marriages. A very common question is how can the parties ensure that children from prior marriages are protected in the event that their parent dies and is survived by the new spouse? This is where having the appropriate estate planning in place can prevent the following scenario: One spouse with children from a prior marriage dies and, after inheriting the entire estate, the surviving spouse disinherits those children by leaving everything only to the natural born children of the surviving spouse.
2. You may want to protect your new spouse. Another common issue regarding estate planning and remarriage is ensuring that the new spouse is protected after the remarriage. Again, here is another scenario: After remarriage, one spouse dies before updating his or her will and beneficiary designations to include his or her new spouse; it is possible the new spouse is left without the inheritance his or her spouse wanted. In this scenario, if a life insurance policy was not updated to replace the ex-spouse’s name with the current spouse’s name, it is possible the life insurance proceeds will be paid to the ex-spouse or to someone other than the new spouse.
3. You may want to protect your health care wishes. Finally, the importance of having an advanced health care directive and/or living will in place is an issue regarding estate planning and remarriage that should be addressed. Remarriage may increase the possibility that there will be some internal disagreements within the family as to the medical decisions being made by one spouse when the other is incapacitated. With the appropriately drafted legal documents, spouses can lay out their specific wishes regarding healthcare decisions and medical treatment and eliminate the potential for conflict.
If you have remarried or are planning to remarry, our office can help you reevaluate your estate plan to reflect your change in life circumstances. Our Stuart estate planning lawyers take a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your estate plan for the rest of your life. Please contact our office to learn more.