If you are planning to marry again after divorce, you should update your estate plan to reflect your new circumstances. Doing so will ensure that your new spouse, as well as children from both marriages, receives the benefits of your estate after your death.
These are some of the factors to consider when revising your will and other legal documents to account for blended family situations.
Start the conversation
Make sure that you are on the same page with your new spouse about financial matters and estate planning goals. Be transparent about existing obligations, such as financial duties to a former spouse in your divorce agreement and child support payments. Discuss your plans for retirement, providing for education for current and future children and guardianship wishes and concerns.
Consider a prenuptial agreement
When both partners are entering a new marriage with significant assets, a prenuptial agreement can keep these assets separate. This allows each person’s separate property to pass to his or her children from a prior marriage rather than directly to the new spouse. If you have already married again, a postnuptial agreement can serve the same purpose.
Update beneficiary designations
Review life insurance policies, retirement accounts and investments to make sure that you have the correct beneficiaries listed. Consider whether you want these assets to go directly to your children or to your new spouse, who may distribute the funds as he or she seems fit. Make sure to check the regulations of your account. For example, a 401(k) must list your spouse as the beneficiary unless he or she waives this right.
Preserve joint real estate
If you want to ensure that your spouse can continue to live in the home after you die, you must co-own the property with both names on the title. In Florida, establishing joint tenancy by right of survivorship allows real estate to pass to the surviving owner.
The sooner you begin the estate planning conversation, the less likely you are to face a complicated situation. Ideally, consider these questions before moving forward with a second marriage.