Orsbon & Fenninger, LLP

Estate Planning and Estate Administration

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Remarried? Protect assets, children with an updated estate plan

For you and many other individuals, your first marriage may have ended in divorce. However, that does not mean that love will never come again. In fact, numerous people enter into second marriages at some point in their lives and enjoy a new kind of family and happiness. Of course, when entering into another marriage, aspects of your first marriage might still require some consideration.

If you have children from a previous relationship or had certain accounts associated with your ex, overlooking those details could land you in trouble. Therefore, you may benefit from re-examining your existing estate plan and altering details in order to address your life change.

Beneficiary designations

Many of your accounts may allow you to name beneficiaries to inherit the contents of those accounts in the event of your death. During your first marriage, you may have named your spouse as a beneficiary. Of course, after divorce and a second marriage, you undoubtedly do not want an ex-spouse to continue to act as beneficiary.

Luckily, you can update your beneficiary designations and name someone other than your ex-spouse. You may wish to give your new beneficiary due consideration before officially naming him or her on the account. Though you may immediately believe your new spouse should take on the role, remember that he or she would have the ability to name beneficiaries after your death, which may or may not work in your children's favor.

Commingling assets

As part of your planning, you may want to decide whether you and your new spouse want to commingle your assets. As both of you will undoubtedly bring various property to the marriage, making this decision could prove useful. If you hope to leave certain assets to your children from a previous marriage, you may want to leave those assets separate in order to ensure that they remain protected for your kids.

Open discussion

Of course, discussing your wishes with your new spouse may act as one of the most important aspects of the planning. By having this discussion, you can both present your goals and wishes and help each other better understand how you want your estate plan to benefit one another and your children.

Updating assistance

If you hope to update your plans effectively, you undoubtedly want to ensure that your changes are legally binding. If you decide to modify your plans but do not take the proper legal steps, your ex-spouse could still act as beneficiary or your children could end up with less property than you intended. Speaking with an experienced North Carolina attorney could help you ensure that you take the proper steps in changing your estate plans as you see fit.

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