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Why remarriage requires an updated estate plan

If you're going into a second marriage and you don't have an estate plan, now is the time to get one. If you already have one, you will need to make some changes, just as you would for most any significant life event.

When going into a second marriage, a key consideration for people who have children is ensuring that they will get a share of their estate when they die. If that's not codified, the spouse can get everything and decide not to share with the stepkids. There are a number of ways, such as trusts, that you can protect assets for your children. You may also choose to include your spouse's children in your will or set up a trust for them.

Another issue is the home. If the property is in your name and you want to make sure that your spouse can continue to live there after you die, you can place it in a trust.

Ownership of assets is also an important consideration when remarrying -- particularly if both spouses are bringing significant assets into the marriage. It may be wise to keep your individual assets in separate accounts. Once you begin to commingle assets, your spouse may be able to get a significant portion of those in the case of divorce or death.

Even with a prenuptial agreement (which you should also have), commingling assets after marriage can make things more complicated. Many couples going into a second marriage set up a joint account to cover household purchases and other expenses for which both are responsible.

If you are remarrying, it's essential that whether you are the spouse with more money or the one with less, you have an estate plan that will ensure that your children and other loved ones receive the assets you want them to have if you die before your new spouse does.

Source: Forbes, "Second Marriage And Estate Planning: 5 Things You May Not Have Considered," Mark Eghrari, June 02, 2017

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