Remarry, Re-Plan

Remarry, Re-Plan

While we read reports that the divorce rate has declined over the past couple of decades, it has actually doubled for couples over age 50. A few things to keep in mind regarding your estate plan upon a remarriage:

Protecting both your new spouse and your children: Leaving assets to your current spouse with the understanding that he or she will provide for your children (or vice versa) does not account for a possible change in family dynamics after you die. An estate planning attorney can prepare a plan that properly protects both your spouse and your children, such as the following:

  • You can allow your spouse to continue to reside in your home, but proceeds from the sale of the home can go to your children.
  • You can establish a trust to benefit your spouse for life, and then the assets would pass to your children.
  • To help avoid the possibility that the assets are depleted by your spouse, you can establish a "marital" trust to benefit your spouse and a "family" trust to benefit your children. Any remaining assets of the marital trust can go to your children upon the death of your spouse. Life insurance can also be helpful in these situations.

Beneficiary Designations: Review beneficiary designations so that your assets do not inadvertently pass to your former spouse. Your surviving spouse will usually automatically receive your 401k, but this is not the case for other assets.

Powers of Attorney: Updating financial and medical powers of attorney to reflect changed marital circumstances will avoid a former spouse making decisions regarding your money or your health. State law can overcome some of these oversights, but presenting a financial or medical power of attorney with a former spouse listed can be problematic.

Updating your estate plan in the event of a divorce, and particularly if you remarry, can help prevent misunderstandings and bitter fights among your new spouse and your children from a prior marriage. If you need help, contact us at or (248) 477-6300.

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