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Estate Planning Guide for Second Marriages and Blended Families

Estate planning allows you to decide what happens to your assets after you pass away, including distributing your belongings among your loved ones. For blended families, the process can be a bit more complicated but a Los Angeles estate planning attorney can help you find a personal solution to your concerns.

Estate planning for second marriages takes some time, but it's worth the effort to make sure your estate will be handled according to your wishes and that all of your children receive an inheritance.

Things to Consider When Estate Planning for a Second Marriage

After your divorce, you need to overhaul your will and other estate planning documents. Experts recommend refreshing your estate plan on a regular basis, such as every five years or after a major life event, such as a marriage.

If one or both of you has children, you will need to discuss the division of assets for inheritances in your blended family. Who will receive what? If you plan to have additional children together. In addition, you'll also need to consider how they factor into your estate plan.

You may also want to consider primary beneficiaries versus secondary beneficiaries. In most states, your primary beneficiary is automatically your spouse. This means your spouse receives your property and other major assets. Who will be listed as what type of beneficiary?

You and your current spouse will also need to manage assets. How will you share your assets? If you have been married before, you understand the importance of clarity on this subject. Some couples may even want to keep the separate property under their own names for convenience.

Did you have a prenuptial agreement? Creating one can stop potential conflicts before they arise. It will also affect how you create your will and what is included versus what is considered separate property.

Estate and financial planning prevents unintended consequences and ensures there are no surprises. An experienced estate planning attorney provides guidance and helps you make the most of your assets through planning.

How to Protect Your Children’s Inheritance When You Remarry?

When you remarry, it's essential to reassess your estate plan and beneficiary designations. Many people want to leave an inheritance to children from a previous marriage. New marriage inheritance issues can take you by surprise if you aren't up to date with your planning.

If you don't want your estate to be left entirely to a surviving spouse, then you can take action with an estate attorney. When you create a deliberate estate plan, you decide what happens to your assets. You can leave assets to children from previous marriages, your new spouse's children, or any biological children you have together.

One common way to solve this problem is by bequeathing the assets directly to your own children in your will. You can also give them money or assets outright. However, if you or your spouse need those assets in the meantime, it's best to put them in a will instead.

You can also establish a trust. It is a great way to keep money safe and plan for a smooth, easy transfer upon your death. Trusts also give you more control over how the money is distributed, which is ideal for minor children. They can also reduce estate taxes and inheritance taxes.

It's possible to create separate trusts for different beneficiaries and with different conditions. Meeting with a trust attorney in Los Angeles can help you weigh your options and consider various trust structures.

A life insurance policy can also benefit your adult children. Life insurance policies are a great option if you plan to leave your home and other assets to your new spouse.

Adding children as beneficiaries to your retirement plans has a similar effect: it allows them a chunk of your estate without leaving a surviving spouse out in the cold. With a little planning, you can provide each child with an inheritance.

How to Create Your Estate Plan for Your Second Marriage

When you already have one marriage in your history, you have likely already gone through the estate planning process. Creating an estate plan for a second marriage can feel like starting from scratch.

If you already have an estate plan, an attorney can help you make adjustments to it by removing your ex-spouse and making other updates. This also gives you an opportunity to make any changes, such as making important medical decisions or adding beneficiaries to a retirement account.

Accounting for all the assets in your name provides a good starting point. Bank accounts, real estate, and valuables are all relevant. On the other hand, you'll also need to discuss the debts between you or any debt you make or take on for homes, vehicles, or education.

The two of you can also create a joint will that hashes out what will happen if either spouse dies. Here, you can solve guardianship issues, elder care, and more.

Nursing home costs and other elder care should also factor into your considerations. Funeral and burial expenses are another consideration. Married couples can plan ahead for these expenses so their children won't have to handle them alone.

It's never too early to begin end-of-life planning, and it's even more crucial when you have family members to care about. A good attorney can help you avoid reducing taxes and other expenses that will affect your beneficiaries.

Getting Legal Advice

Every family is different, and the advice you find online or in legal books may not be relevant to your unique situation. When you have multiple marriages to consider, you may be at a loss as to how you can create a simple, effective will.

We're experts in creating estate plans tailored to blended families with children from previous marriages. Our legal team is familiar with the most common challenges and pitfalls in estate planning for a second marriage, and we'll help you avoid them.

When you work with our team, you get personalized advice from an experienced estate planning attorney with over two decades in the field. To schedule a free consultation and learn more about your estate planning options, contact us at 562-526-6941 at McKenzie Legal & Financial today!

Thomas McKenzie Law
Estate Planning Attorney in California. Full-service law firm specializing in estate plans, wills and trusts, long-term care, and financial consulting. Thomas L. McKenzie received his Juris Doctor degree from Western State University College of Law, in Fullerton, California. While working full-time at night and attending full-time daily classes, Tom graduated law school with honors in 1993.

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