Suppose you or someone named in your estate planning has remarried. In that case, there are several significant issues that you should be aware of and steps you should take to ensure your estate planning continues to be appropriate for your current situation.
If Left Unaddressed:
Even if a former spouse is designated as a beneficiary in a will, a trust, or a life insurance policy, the law is likely to preclude the specified ex-spouse beneficiary from obtaining a distribution from the deceased ex-spouse’s estate. As a result, regardless of what your current estate plan states, you must evaluate your estate plan, as well as beneficiary designations for your life insurance policies and retirement accounts, on a regular basis. This is to guarantee that an ex-spouse is no longer identified as a beneficiary unless your divorce settlement stipulates otherwise.
How Your Current Spouse Fits Into Your Estate Plan
Perhaps you and your current spouse have opted to treat property in the manner of “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours.” Your efforts to leave your property to someone other than your present spouse may be complicated if you don’t have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place that specifies how property should be dispersed upon death.
On the other hand, if you want to make sure that your surviving spouse gets part (or perhaps all) of your assets, it’s critical that your estate planning paperwork express your wishes.
Remarriage: Beneficiaries & Fiduciaries
If your new marriage is difficult because your new spouse is financially unstable, it may be time to revisit your estate planning arrangements. After you’ve named a beneficiary in your legal paperwork, they may remarry. In this situation, you may want to declare that any inheritance that transfers solely to your beneficiary must be retained in a perpetual asset protection trust for their benefit. Such language can protect the beneficiary’s inheritance from being seized by their spouse’s creditors or being shared as marital property in the event of a divorce.
We hope the above information has underscored the point that remarriage is a significant enough life event that you should work with your estate planning attorney to carefully update your estate documents to reflect your current situation and intent.