Estate Planning For Second Marriages

Estate Planning, Family

Estate planning for second marriages is often more complicated than estate planning in general. However, the experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC have an impressive track record of helping clients like you successfully resolve their estate planning concerns.

As you move forward with your life, develop your career, and begin a family, estate planning is an important tool for protecting your legacy and for helping to ensure your continued support of your loved ones. Estate planning is essential to ensure your legal and financial rights are protected. If you are preparing to enter a second marriage –or have already married for a second time –the matter is likely to be that much more important. If you need professional legal guidance with estate planning for second marriages, the experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC (512-505-2753) have the legal insight, experience, and focus to help.

Critical Considerations for Second Marriages

If you are facing the issue of estate planning for second marriages, there are several vital matters to keep in mind as you move forward toward either updating your estate planning or melding your efforts with your spouse-to-be into an entirely new joint estate plan. Some of the considerations you will need to keep at the forefront as you move forward in the process include:

  • The inheritance of your children who were born before your second marriage
  • The inheritance of any children who may come from your second marriage
  • Those assets that you and your spouse will continue to own as separate property
  • Any assets that will be retitled in both of your names, such as bank accounts, your home’s mortgage, and more
  • Any edits required on current estate planning tools, such as powers of attorney, trusts, and/or advance directives in Texas.

Before a first marriage, you are much less likely to have built up considerable financial wealth or have children already. Because these factors tend to guide estate planning, they naturally complicate the evolution of your estate planning within a second marriage. The optimal time to discuss these matters is before remarriage. This can also help you determine if a prenuptial agreement may be in order (depending upon how much distance there is between what you are looking for in your estate plan and what your soon-to-be spouse is looking for). If you have already married for a second time, you should not delay addressing the matter of your estate plan.

Children, Second Marriages, and Estate Planning

One of the most important concerns about estate planning for second marriages is that your children naturally want to protect their inheritance. If your new spouse also has children, the matter of their position in your estate plan may also become an issue. Further, if any of the children are minors, you will also need to address who will manage their inherited assets upon you or your spouse’s death.

If you have already established a Last Will and Testament (will) or trust for your children, you will need to determine how this element of your estate plan could affect your new spouse’s inheritance and whether it is in keeping with your wishes on the matter. This often amounts to balancing the preservation of your children’s inheritance with the share of your estate that you wish your spouse to retain. If you are considering having another child or having more children within the second marriage, you will have the inheritance of both sets of children to consider. The challenges of estate planning for second marriages are considerable, but the dedicated Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC can help you understand all of your legal options.

Understanding Beneficiary Designations

Because they forego probate, beneficiary designations are a powerful estate planning tool that allows the specific element of your estate to flow directly to the recipient whom you designate. Upon remarriage, it is important to carefully consider all of your beneficiary accounts to ensure they are designated appropriately in light of your new marriage. Such accounts can include:

  • Your 40l(k) and other retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Annuities

It is also important to consider how your real estate and bank accounts are titled. Because the choices you make toward this end can have profound effects, working closely with an experienced estate planning attorney is always well advised. For example, designating your second spouse as a joint tenant with the right of survivorship to your home is convenient to tie up loose ends. Still, it also entitles your spouse to full ownership upon your death –regardless of how your estate plan is arranged, including the distribution of your assets (according to your wishes).

Consequences of the Failure To Create an Estate Plan

In the State of Texas, if you die during a second marriage, have children from a prior marriage, and have no estate plan, your assets will be distributed as follows (per the state’s laws of intestacy):

  • Your spouse will be entitled to one-half of your marital property (those assets that you both acquired throughout your marriage), to one-third of your separate property, and to use of your real estate for life.
  • Your children will be entitled to everything else.

An important point to note here is that keeping separate property separate throughout the years of marriage is challenging. If you do not put considerable effort into the distinction, property that you may consider separate could be deemed marital in the eyes of the law. In other words, without an estate plan in place, your children’s inheritance could be considerably smaller than you anticipated.

Consider Consulting with an Experienced Texas Estate Planning Attorney

If you are preparing to remarry, you are naturally looking forward to a new beginning, but it is also important to consider the financial legacy you have already begun. Marriage is often a trigger for estate planning, but if the marriage is your second, the need for solid estate planning is paramount. The experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC have a wealth of impressive experience successfully guiding estate planning for second marriages, and we are here for you, too. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.