Second marriages are a very real possibility for many modern adults and while it represents a second chance at lifelong happiness it does come with some complications regarding estate planning, especially when you have children in the mix. Here are a few important factors to consider from New Jersey estate planning attorneys.
- A prenuptial agreement – While many couples consider this the norm in their first marriage, it’s even more important for a second marriage. Not only does this agreement establish the division of assets in the event of death or divorce, it also can contain lifestyle clauses which establish financial boundaries before the marriage. For example, financial agreements which determine the extent of support for adult children or dependents where the other spouse may be affected.
- Creating a trust – Often, married couples choose to create a trust which will ensure their estate avoids costly taxation and their surviving spouse and children are taken care of. This becomes a more complex issue when the surviving spouse remarries and more so when new children become part of the family. Your lawyer will work with you to determine if the new spouse should control the trust in the event of your passing, how it should provide for new siblings and where assets belonging to the previous spouse should be managed. There are also certain ways of increasing the value of the estate to help provide for new children and spouses, including taking out life insurance. Your lawyer will have to assist you with this, as it requires a specific legal procedure to ensure that your estate taxes are minimized.
- Providing for your new spouse and children – Your spouse may be entering into the marriage alone or with children and you may want to include provisions in your estate plan which guarantee that they are cared for if you pass away. This is very important in the event your spouse has a falling out with your own children or beneficiaries, if they sign a Last Will and Testament which leaves everything to their own dependents or remarries. Creating a trust with a third party trustee will ensure that your wishes are carried out impartially and objectively.
- Your Last Will and Testament – Inheritance issues can easily affect your loved ones when you have remarried and an updated Will is essential to prevent conflict. Without a Will, New Jersey state law says that half of your assets go to your spouse and the other half is left outright to your children, which isn’t ideal for most families. While your lawyer can work with you to make a more comprehensive Will, there are other option, such as insurance trusts, which present useful alternatives to dividing your assets.
Let our New Jersey estate planning attorneys assist you
Estate planning is a complex procedure made even more so by second marriages, but this shouldn’t make you put it on the backburner. Experienced attorneys at Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC will help you simplify the process and – most importantly – ensure your loved ones are properly cared for. For more advice on this process or to have your estate planning documents developed by our attorneys, please contact us today.