Have you recently remarried, but you have not yet updated your old estate plan? If so, now may be the time to sit down and get to work. It can be critical to review what you have in place and figure out what should stay the same and what should change. Let us review seven questions to ask your attorney before updating your estate plan after remarriage.
1. Does My Will Match My Prenuptial Agreement? If you and your new spouse have a prenuptial agreement, you may need to make sure your will matches up with that agreement. Otherwise, the prenuptial agreement may negate parts of your will, which can complicate matters since your will can cover everything in your estate, or if there is no clause about the prenuptial agreement taking precedence, there could be issues as to which document governs.
2. Do We Each Have Children? If each of you have children from a prior relationship, you may wish to put your assets from prior to the new marriage into trust for your respective children, and evenly divide what you earn together during the marriage.
3. Will You Have More Children? If so, ask your attorney how you can properly allocate your assets among children from different marriages in the interest of fairness in the context of your new family’s specific circumstances.
4. Who Will Handle Assets for Minor Children? If your remarriage is earlier in life and either you or your partner have minor children from a prior marriage, it can be critical to decide who would be responsible for managing the assets they will inherit on their behalf should their biological parent pass away. There may be many choices to consider. Some people may choose a child’s other parent if they have a good relationship with the ex-spouse. Others may choose the new spouse, especially if widowed or if the new spouse otherwise has a strong parent-like relationship with the children. Still others choose another relative to handle financial matters in this unlikely event.
5. How Should We Title our Property? If you plan to buy a home together, who is providing the funds and whose name(s) should be on the title is important to consider.
6. Do We Have Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives? If so, make sure to update the documents to reflect the new spouse. If not, now may be the time to create them.
7. Do We Need a Postnuptial Agreement? If you did not have a prenuptial agreement but these questions have you thinking, you may decide you want something similar and enter into a postnuptial agreement. Your estate plan should reflect that agreement.
If you have recently remarried or plan to do so in the near future, please reach out to our office for assistance in properly managing or establishing your estate plan so it reflects this big life change.