Estate Planning in a Second Marriage

A married couple planning their retirement lifeSecond marriages and blended families can be a challenge. Now that you are ready to plan your estate, the challenges continue. How do you divide an estate equally among the constellation of heirs titled “His, Hers, and Ours?” These decisions can seem overwhelming, but planning and good advice will ensure that your family will be cared for even after you are gone.

Don’t Wait

Talking about what will happen after your death is not usually a topic of conversation for the dinner table; however, it needs to be addressed. Should you or your spouse die without a will, the probate court will decide how your estate should be divided and, in the event that both spouses die together, that court will decide who has custody of any minor children. Probate court can take years to settle an estate and costs often eat up a sizeable portion of the estate that could have benefited your heirs.

Get Advice

There is more to planning your estate than just having a will, although that is a significant part of your planning. You will need to talk to an estate planning attorney to make sure that your heirs are properly taken care of and that the legal documents drawn up do not interfere with any other contractual obligations that you may have. Divorce settlements, parenting plans, alimony, and child support all factor into how your estate will be settled. For example, your divorce settlement may require you to designate your ex-spouse as the beneficiary of your retirement benefits. You may have brought a significant amount of debt or a significant asset to your second marriage. A properly planned estate will take tax issues, inheritances, and sheltering assets into consideration to keep them from being claimed as payment for medical bills.

Write Out Your Wishes

Before documents are drawn up and filed with the court, there are many things that need to be considered as you plan your estate. Have you raised a stepchild for most of his or her life and you consider him or her an equal heir with your biological children? Is there a portion of your estate that you would like to designate as college tuition for children or grandchildren? Do you wish to allow your spouse to benefit from your estate, but then want the assets to go to your children once your spouse passes on? These are the things you should be ready to discuss with your spouse and attorney.

It’s Too Important

You may be tempted to put off planning your estate, but procrastinating could be disastrous for your family. You may be considering using a free online legal form, or a piece of software to plan your estate, but your family is too important to leave anything to chance.

There are many options available to ensure that your wishes are followed and that your heirs are provided for. The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin is here to help guide you through the process of planning your estate. Call 516-605-0625 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at your home or in the office.

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