A Faith-Based Law Firm

Attorney Jadinah Gustave

Estate planning mistakes to avoid after a second marriage

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2022 | Estate Planning

Second marriages are often a source of extreme happiness for those who had a previous unhappy marriage or experienced the death of a spouse. They can also be sources of consternation for family members in Florida, especially when the newly married couple contemplates estate planning. While you can’t make everyone happy, you should at least take steps to avoid common mistakes when reviewing your documents.

Mistakes to avoid

Most people who remarry want their new spouse to inherit their assets when they pass away and then have their children inherit the remainder. While they may embark on an estate planning review, some people neglect to make essential changes to address their newly blended family. Common mistakes fall into four categories:

• Not changing beneficiaries

• Not changing a will

• Treating all heirs equally

• Delaying giving until after death

Not changing beneficiaries commonly affects transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts. Often, people forget about the designation because they are concerned with other issues. The same goes with wills. People often mistakenly think that a will’s terms can’t be changed, but you can modify them as often as you want. Rarely do spouses in a second marriage have similar financial assets. Instead of treating everyone equally, look closely at what you have and who should get proceeds from a house you may own or other assets. Additionally, consider giving assets to your children while you are alive, so you can see them enjoy your generosity.

The value of updating your documents

The value of updating your estate plan goes beyond ensuring that your new spouse and your adult children are adequately remembered. Your circumstances may have changed beyond your new marriage. You should also address those concerns after remarriage. Different circumstances, such as the death of a beneficiary or an argument with a family member, may require you to make changes.

Remarriage emphasizes the need for periodic review of estate documents. Instead of stashing your documents in a safe and forgetting about them, make it a point to review your directives. You’ll rest assured that your final wishes will be carried out.