Second Marriages & Estate Planning - A Brief Overview

Choosing to remarry is a big decision, and one to celebrate enthusiastically. A second marriage is a chance to start fresh, to put the troubles of the past behind you and celebrate a new chapter of your life with someone you love. In the midst of all the excitement, however, there are several details that need attention. Your estate plan provides a perfect example.

A second marriage can significantly impact your estate plan, and it's important to make sure the transition is executed effectively. Our estate planning attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to help you navigate the process. Below are a few of the steps you should take to update your estate plan after you remarry. (Note: these steps are not necessarily listed in order of importance.)

Discuss Your Financial Situation
Honesty is a crucial component of any successful marriage. As you enter into your new marital partnership, it's important to have an open conversation about your financial situation with your new spouse. Each of you should take inventory of the financial assets and debts you bring to the relationship. Properties owned, life insurance, retirement accounts, and outstanding loans are examples of factors that may need to be discussed.

Choose How To Manage Your Finances
Once you get an accurate picture of each other's financial situation, you can decide how you want to proceed. Some couples choose to combine their assets, and others choose to keep them relatively separate. Typically, we find that couples who marry later in life are more likely to keep their assets separate, especially if they have children from prior marriages, than younger couples are. Couples are also more likely to keep their assets separate when one of the spouses enter into the relationship with a stronger financial position.

Determine How To Distribute Your Assets
This is one of the most important conversations you will have with your new spouse. If one or both of you have children from a previous marriage, you may feel strongly about setting aside certain assets to be passed to those children. If you plan to have children together, you will need to plan which assets to leave to them and whether their inheritance will differ from your children from a previous marriage. Once you determine how you'd like to distribute your assets, your estate planning lawyer can help you determine which estate planning tools will best fit your unique situation.

Update Your Beneficiaries
Now that you are remarried, you may want to review and update the beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies, investment and retirement accounts to reflect your new marriage. Other kinds of beneficiary designations to consider are transfer on death (TOD) for your boat and vehicles, pay on death (POD) for your accounts and a beneficiary deed for your real estate.  

Designate Your Power Of Attorney(s)
Life is unpredictable. In the event that you become incapacitated and/or otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself, you will need someone to act on your behalf to make financial decisions and medical and healthcare decisions.
A properly written and executed durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney allows this to happen.  You and your new spouse will need to decide who to appoint in these role.  You may also want to designate back-up representatives, so you will have someone you trust acting on your behalf if the original person you appointed is unable to fulfill the responsibilities for any reason.

Contact O'Donnell Law Center For All Your Estate Planning Needs!
If you are getting remarried and preparing to update your estate plan (or perhaps build a new one entirely), we would love to talk to you. Our estate planning experts in Osage Beach MO can help you navigate the specific details of your situation to build the estate plan that will best meet your unique needs. For more information about our estate planning services at the Lake of the Ozarks, call our Center at 573-552-0317.

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.

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Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065


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