If you are planning a second marriage, you likely have many things on your mind. This is particularly true if one or both of you are bringing children into the new blended family. Creating a new estate plan may not be at the top of your list of concerns at the moment, but you should address your estate plan before you actually get re-married. Only you and your estate planning attorney can create your new plan, but there are some things to consider before sitting down for your appointment.
- Take some individual time to consider what your objectives are separately before sitting down together to talk about them as part of a new couple.
- Consider different possible scenarios and what would happen under each one. For example, what happens if you die first? If your spouse dies first? What if your two have children together down the road? What happens if you two get divorced in the future?
- Ask your attorney about using a Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) trust or a life estate as a way to protect your spouse without actually handing over assets to him or her that are ultimately intended to remain in the family.
- Talk to your attorney about a pre-nuptial agreement. Do not make the mistake of assuming these are geared at the idea of a future divorce. In reality, they are often an excellent tool for estate planning for couples getting re-married.
- Be sure to address personal items and family heirlooms. Existing children may have sentimental attachments to these items and will be deeply hurt if they are inadvertently gifted to a new spouse or future children.