Making The Complex

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Those taking another walk down the aisle can’t forget their estate plan

In the aftermath of an otherwise enervating divorce, it’s not uncommon for a newly single person to declare to family and friends that they will never marry again. It’s also not uncommon for the very same people who make these bold proclamations to find themselves tying the knot once again. Indeed, statistics show that as recently as 2013, 40 percent of marriages were the second — or more — for one or both spouses.

While a change of mind about marriage is certainly nothing to be embarrassed about, experts indicate that there are certain estate planning considerations that those in this situation will want to keep in mind.

  • Write your will: A recent survey indicated that 63 percent of Americans are lacking a will. If you fall into this category and remarry, it’s important to understand that in the event you remarry, your state’s intestacy laws will govern. While this may not seem like a big deal, consider that these laws typically dictate that the entirety of your assets should pass to your spouse, meaning if you have children from a prior marriage they could be completely cut off.
  • Check the titling of assets: Even if you’ve executed a will spelling out how you want certain assets to be distributed in clear terms, if these assets are titled as joint tenancy with rights or survivorship or tenancy by the entirety, these designations in the will won’t matter. As such, experts indicate that a newly remarried person should consider reviewing the title to assets and severing ties as necessary.
  • Update beneficiaries: Similarly, the beneficiary designations made on everything from life insurance policies to qualified retirement accounts supersede anything written in a will. Accordingly, in order to avoid having an ex-spouse inherit a potentially large sum of money, these beneficiary designations should be reviewed.

Here’s hoping the following information served to impress upon those entering their second, third or subsequent marriage the importance of revisiting their estate plan.

If you have questions about this scenario or would like to learn more about the value of a complex estate planning instrument like a bypass trust, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional.  


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