If you’re preparing to get married for the second (or subsequent) time, you’ve likely got a lot on your mind. Don’t forget the importance of updating your estate plan. If you don’t have one, now is the time to get one. This is particularly crucial if you have children from your previous marriage(s).
If you already had an estate plan when you divorced, you likely removed your former spouse as your beneficiary on retirement and investment accounts and removed their power of attorney (POA) over your finances and health care. (If you didn’t, now’s probably the time to do that.)
Let’s look at some key items that may require further revision as you remarry.
You’ll likely want to change that to reflect the fact that your new spouse will get a portion of your assets. Remember that if you don’t have a will, all of your assets will likely go to your surviving spouse who can do with them as they choose – potentially cutting your children and other family members out completely.
Your beneficiary designations
You may want to make your new spouse a beneficiary to at least some of the appropriate accounts and any life insurance policy. You need to make those changes with the holder of the account or policy. Simply changing your beneficiaries in your estate plan isn’t enough.
Powers of attorney, agent and other administrative designations
Many people designate their spouse to have POA over their finances and health care and to be their health care agent. You may also want your new spouse to be the executor of your estate. The important thing is to be clear to everyone whom you’ve chosen and why.
These aren’t typically considered part of an estate plan. However, it’s best when the terms of the prenup (particularly for a remarriage) are consistent with the estate plan documents. For example, if your new spouse is independently wealthy and you’re not leaving them an inheritance, it’s wise to stipulate that in the prenup so that they can’t claim it was an oversight.
You may want to set up trusts and make additional changes as well. No two situations are the same, so it’s wise to have experienced legal guidance as you revise your estate plan to reflect the changes in your life and family.