Considerations for Estate Planning After a Second Marriage
A great number of people enter into second marriages. Some of these occur early in life after a brief first marriage. However, many occur later in life after a lengthy and happy first marriage. When individuals enter into a subsequent marriage after building a life and having kids with their first spouse, there are a number of factors to consider – particularly when it comes to writing their wills. Estate planning during a second marriage can be complicated. Husbands and wives may want to take care of each other yet also need to set aside assets for their children from their first marriage. If you are facing this type of situation, your best option is to call an experienced Leesburg estate planning attorney. A lawyer will listen to your concerns and advise you on your legal options.
Estate Planning Considerations With Second Marriages
If you are in your second marriage and it has come time to plan for what your loved ones, friends, and favored charities will receive upon your passing, then consider:
- Property ownership: Think twice before you put your property into both your and your new spouse’s name. It is one thing to purchase a new property together. However, adding your new spouse’s name to the deed for the family home where you raised your kids could stir trouble. If you want to keep your family home or another property for your children, do not commingle this property with your new spouse’s assets. You may want to address keeping certain real estate separate through a prenuptial agreement or with a trust.
- Commingling assets: When you and your second spouse marry, you create a marital estate. Over time, your and your spouse’s assets will commingle and become yours together, not yours separately. This can lead to confusion and hard feelings when your children or other heirs believe they will be entitled to certain property when you pass only to discover it remains with your spouse. However, there are a number of ways to solve this problem. You can even ensure your spouse benefits from your assets for their entire life, even if you pass away first, while protecting these assets for your beneficiaries. You can use a marital trust that entitles your spouse to benefit from the property held by the trust after you pass. However, the spouse never takes ownership. Instead, once your spouse passes, the property of the trust can move to your beneficiaries.
- Who inherits: During a second marriage, it is possible that you both have children who you would like to inherit from you. This can be a difficult topic, especially when stepfamilies do not always get along. You will need to have candid conversations with your spouse about who you wish to inherit from your estate. Again, it may be best to address this in a prenuptial agreement or with a trust. You and your spouse can each create trusts that contain real estate, investments, and other property for the benefit of your own children upon your passing.
Contact a Leesburg Estate Planning Lawyer for Help
If you are older and on your second marriage, you may need more nuanced legal advice regarding estate planning. At Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC in Leesburg, we are here to help you understand your many legal options for drafting your will or creating a trust. Call us today at 703-997-4982 to schedule a consultation.