Estate planning considerations for a second marriage

If you have decided to get married again after a divorce, you may need to adjust your estate plan. Updating your will and other documents to include your new spouse and provide for children from both marriages can help prevent future conflicts. 

Review these estate planning considerations before your second marriage. 

Joint tenancy

Many couples rely on the laws of joint tenancy to pass the family home and other assets to their spouse if they die. Those who want children from a first marriage to eventually inherit real estate or other property, however, must address these wishes in a will. Otherwise, the spouse will have full ownership of the home and other property under joint tenancy and may or may not pass important items down to his or her stepchildren. 

Beneficiary designations

Often, people who divorce forget that their former spouse is the beneficiary of retirement accounts, bank accounts and life insurance policies. If someone in this situation dies unexpectedly before updating beneficiary designations, the ex will receive those funds even when the person has married someone else. 

Prenuptial agreements

Signing a prenuptial agreement before a second marriage can help both spouses keep separate property separate. Business owners and older adults who have built wealth and have extensive assets should be especially clear about designating certain property separate. Those who have already married a second time can consider a postnuptial agreement to establish these boundaries. 

In general, individuals should review their estate plans anytime a major life change occurs. They should also review periodically every few years to check for necessary adjustments. 

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