remarried couple at house

How Remarriage Can Impact Estate Planning

By David Hammond

After putting an estate plan in place, life continues moving forward. Families change. There are marriages and there are divorces. There are births and there are deaths. Because of this, it can be critical to keep your estate plan updated to reflect your most current life circumstances. After a major life event, take the time to go and review your estate plan. See if there any updates you need to make, likely there will be. For instance, have you remarried since putting an estate plan in place? Do not wait to go review your estate plan. There may very well be major changes you will want to make.

How Remarriage Can Impact Estate Planning

Spouses often play a central role in a person’s estate plan. As such, a change in a spouse will usually merit some major changes to an already established estate plan. Here, we will discuss several aspects you should pay particular attention to after a remarriage.

First, take the time to go and update your beneficiaries on things such as your life insurance, retirement accounts, and any payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) accounts. You may have your former spouse as opposed to your current spouse listed as a beneficiary. There will also be other important appointments that you should check in on and update accordingly. For instance, did you list your former spouse as the personal representative of your estate? Do you have a power of attorney in place with them listed as your agent? Did you list them as your surrogate in a health care surrogate? These are important designations that can have substantial implications for you, your family, and everyone’s well-being. Go back and check to see if you still have your former spouse listed in these positions. If so, you will likely want to consider changing them to your new spouse or someone else.

Next, consider the implications your remarriage may have on your children from your previous marriage, from the aspect of estate planning, in particular. Have you reached an informal agreement with your current spouse that you will leave the bulk of your estate to him or her and he or she will, in turn, provide for your children? This can place your children at needless financial risk. Instead, to help ensure both your current spouse and your children are provided for, consider establishing a marital trust to provide for your spouse during their lifetime and have the children listed as trust beneficiaries upon the death of your spouse. There are other trust types you may want to consider as well.

Estate Planning Attorneys

The strongest estate plan you can have is one that is kept up to date to reflect your most current life circumstances. At CDH Law, our team of dedicated estate planning attorneys wants to help you ensure that your estate accurately and effectively reflects and works to accomplish your goals for yourself and your loved ones. Contact us today.

About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.