Tips on estate planning for your second marriage

When it comes to estate planning, second marriages and blended families have their own issues. You’re going to face some challenges when it comes to planning how your estate is going to provide financial support for your new husband or wife as well as children from different marriages.

In many second marriages, couples want to make sure that the surviving spouse will be cared for when one of the two passes away, but also want the children from their previous marriages to be the ultimate beneficiaries of the assets that their parents brought to the second marriage. 

The problem lies in coming up with an estate plan that keeps all involved parties satisfied. The idea of “yours, mine, and ours” can really complicate the process of estate planning until relations between family members become temporarily if not permanently strained.

These types of situations require advanced wealth planning with clearly stated goals. So, it’s helpful to become familiar with some estate planning tips for these types of situations to help preserve harmony within your family.

Don’t wait to update your beneficiary designations

The biggest issue with second marriages and blended families is “where does my money go when I die?” So, the first step you should take is to have a frank and honest conversation with your soon-to-be spouse about your existing finances, financial and personal goals for the future, and how you want your assets to be distributed. 

While these discussions are bound to be stressful as well as emotionally charged, they will end up having positive results in the long term. If you have adult children, you should include them in the discussions so that they’re completely knowledgeable of how you’re going to set up or modify your estate plan.

One of the best estate planning tips is to make sure that you update your beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc.  This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make when going into a second marriage. Regardless of what your will or trust may say, your assets will go directly to the primary beneficiary or beneficiaries, and this could end up being your ex-spouse!

Are you bringing significant assets into your second marriage?  It may make good sense to prepare a separate property trust before you get remarried to secure your assets. That way you can rest assured that they’ll ultimately end up with your designated beneficiaries.

If you’re getting remarried and want to make sure that your assets are correctly distributed, it’s in your best interest to consult with an estate planning attorney about setting up a full estate plan before saying “I do” to assess all of your options.

The guidance you need

There are many things to consider with a second marriage, and finances and estate planning should be at the top of the list. Drafting a well-thought-out estate plan can help to ensure a smoother transition for your blended family. 

At the Law Office of David W. Foley, attorney for San Diego estate planning services, our experienced attorneys are well-versed in California laws as they apply to the various facets of estate planning. We’ll provide you with the best estate plan for protecting your assets and making sure that they’re distributed according to your wishes.

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