Estate planning for a first marriage can be incredibly challenging and stressful to try and plan correctly, and things only get more stressful when faced with a second marriage. This is mainly because, in a second marriage, the spouses won’t have the same goals. They can have different targets, from financial planning, long-term care, and the like. This reason alone is why it is so essential for both spouses in a second marriage to do estate planning and rely on professional services such as an estate planning lawyer to assist in creating wills and various other legal documents.
So, if you are faced with second marriage estate planning, here’s what you can expect to be doing under certain to ensure everything is as fair as possible:
1. The Naming of the Beneficiaries
There is no denying that one of the most critical aspects of any estate plan is the naming of beneficiaries—be it life insurance policies, retirement accounts, or various other individual assets. In a first marriage, there’s a strong likelihood that either the wife or husband will be named as a beneficiary on everything that the other spouse holds. In a second marriage, this is hardly ever the case.
Planning for a first marriage is quite simple, as the named beneficiaries are typically the same from one account to the next. However, in a second marriage, there’s no telling who will be named as a beneficiary in an IRA, life insurance policy, or the like. This is why it’s so vital to take time to discuss who will be named as a beneficiary in the will.
2. The Children and Inheritances
Most first marriages don’t have to worry about the children from both marriages. However, remarriage often presents the need to think about which children will inherit from the first husband or wife and which will inherit from the second husband or wife. Obviously, this is harder in some cases than in others.
One of the best ways to minimize the damage that can be caused by this type of planning is to have both couples sign a prenuptial agreement. In a prenuptial agreement, it is possible to outline terms that will protect the non-custodial parent, which will, in turn, help to protect whatever inheritance they might hold.
3. The Long-Term Care Concerns
Estate planning for a second marriage can be much more stressful than it is for a first marriage for a couple of reasons. First of all, the spouses in a second marriage may have very different ideas about what type of long-term care they want to receive or not receive. Second, they might not have as strong of a relationship with the children of the first marriage. Whatever the case, it’s often the case that couples in a second marriage will face far more challenges with estate planning than couples in a first marriage.
This is why it’s so essential that spouses in a second marriage don’t wait to begin really considering their estate planning. This is especially true of those who feel they’ll want to move back in with the children from the first marriage. In these cases, the non-custodial parent needs to make sure that they have trust documentation and powers of attorney in place so as to protect their inheritance. Of course, this is also the case for the custodial parent.
The bottom line is that estate planning for couples who are in a second marriage is a great deal more complicated than it is for couples in a first marriage. This makes it a great deal more important to ensure that you are protected by the right wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. By planning early, you can save yourself and your spouse a great deal of time, effort, and money in the long run. Keep in mind that there will be many other factors to consider when estate planning, so work closely with an attorney to assist you in covering all the aspects of it!
Dreyer and Associates Lawyers LLP works hard to preserve the best interest of families, offering family law, will and estates, and more. If you are looking for a will and estates lawyer in the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland, reach out to us today!