Reviewing and potentially updating your estate plan is crucial whenever you have a significant life event. Marriage and divorce are two such life events, and both nearly always warrant some significant revisions.
If you’re divorced and preparing to remarry, it’s crucial to review and probably update your estate plan. That’s true even if you revised it after your divorce. If you don’t have an estate plan, now’s the time to develop one.
Every family is unique. However, we can discuss some of the most common changes that need to be made prior to tying the knot again.
Revise your will and relevant trusts
Assuming that you want to leave your new spouse something after you’re gone, you’ll need to revise your will or your revocable living trust if that’s where you designate the beneficiaries of your assets. Be sure that your children’s inheritances are specifically designated in your will or separate trusts for them. Too many people leave all their assets to their spouse and count on them to share them as they see fit with their children – which they’re under no obligation to do if everything is left to them.
Powers of attorney and administrators
Likely you removed your former spouse from these roles when you divorced. You may have substituted an older child or another family member, like a sibling. Whether you change these upon remarriage is your call. It’s wise to be sure your new spouse knows who has these authorities if it’s not them. This can help prevent hurt feelings and even legal battles later.
You likely have these even if you don’t have an estate plan. These are the people you name on retirement and investment accounts as well as insurance policies to receive the proceeds after your death. It’s important to remember that the people (or entities) you’ve designated on the accounts and policies override any beneficiary designations listed in your estate plan if they’re different.
It’s a lot to think about at a time you’re focused on the future – and you need to be careful about how you handle each step. However, with experienced legal guidance, you can take care of these matters efficiently and have some peace of mind that your family will be cared for as you intend after you’re gone.