Marrying for the second or third time means that you will need to update your estate planning choices and needs. Once you remarry, you may not think about it, but you could be leaving in your wake behind you a complicated tangle of assets, titles, and accounts. Your life before your current spouse could have included:
- Another spouse
- Joint accounts and assets
- Other formal documents in your and your ex-spouse’s names
When you remarry, it is prudent to gather your thoughts, sit down and discuss it as a family, and review your new estate planning needs.
Your life has changed when you remarry, and your estate planning needs should reflect your new life. If you have children from an ex-spouse, you will no doubt want to provide for those family members well into the future. Even if you have adult children, you will want the children you have to share in the distribution of your assets at your death.
Estate Planning After a New Marriage Is a Family Affair
You will definitely want to discuss your new ideas on distributing your assets individually, as a couple, and as a family with your family. It is a topic that can be a sensitive issue in some families, but it should not be completely ignored. The worst thing you can do is to ignore this issue altogether and assume that the distribution of assets at your or your spouse’s death will be performed according to your wishes. There is no way that you can count on someone else to “do the right thing” in relation to distributing marital assets. This is especially true if you have young children, children with special needs or other family situations where distributing assets may be complicated.
How Will Assets Be Titled Going Forward?
Just as with a second marriage, some people may or may not change their names to take on their new spouse’s surname, assets may or may not be retitled to include the names of both spouses. What is the plan here? You will need to have this difficult conversation sooner or later, and it is better to have it now.
You will have to decide if you want to retitle assets in both names or how that will work for your family. You will also need to account for primary residences, vacation homes, bank accounts, and prior wills that may need to be updated. If you plan to make a new joint will, that will also need to be negotiated. It is probably better to make these decisions with family members on board to prevent any resentment later at the death of a spouse. Oftentimes in a family, if assets are unequally distributed after the untimely death of a spouse, it can shatter the family to the point of no return, which is a sad state of affairs. If you have any questions, get in touch with a Texas estate planning lawyer to learn more about your rights.