Second Marriage Planning

January 10th, 2019 by David Goldfarb

estate planning lawyer in new yorkPeople who go through a divorce often go on to remarry in the future, which can often result in a blended family. Blended families may include children from your previous relationship, children from your new spouse’s previous relationship, and/or children that you and your spouse have or adopt together. While beginning a new family dynamic can be exciting, it can also present some challenges when you consider your estate planning.

If you already have an estate plan, it is important to make updates upon a second marriage. If you do not yet have an estate plan, now is the time to create one, especially if you have children from a first marriage. Due to the unique circumstances that second marriages and blended families present, it is always critical to sit down with a qualified attorney who can guide you through the process and help you devise the plan that is best for your specific situation.

Possible Estate Planning Hurdles and Solutions

After a second marriage, you will need to be especially careful with every aspect of your estate plan. New York intestate laws generally do not address blended family and second marriage situations, so there are many risks if you do not have a proper and thorough estate plan in place. Some issues that may arise include:

  • The possible disinheritance of stepchildren
  • The need for the protection of assets from a former spouse
  • Significant delays in children receiving an inheritance, as a spouse may receive the funds first and children may have to wait for the death of the second spouse
  • Disputes arising over authority
  • Accusations of bias or undue influence
  • Financial or legal obligations to your spouse and ex-spouse

You may want to simultaneously provide for multiple parties in your estate plan, including children from a former marriage, your stepchildren, and your second spouse. You also want to prevent conflict among these parties after your death, so you need a comprehensive estate planning strategy that accomplishes both of these goals.

Some tools you may use as part of your overall estate plan may include:

  • Updated wills and trust documents
  • Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
  • Irrevocable life insurance trusts
  • Spendthrift trusts
  • Family limited partnerships (FLPs) or limited liability companies (LLCs)
  • Sprinkling/spray trusts
  • Credit shelter trusts (CSTs)/bypass trusts
  • Qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust
  • Bloodline trusts
  • Life estates

A combination of the above tools can provide the estate plan that you need to care for your new family. You also want to ensure you update all of your account and insurance beneficiaries and designations, your powers of attorney and advanced directives, and other important documents to reflect your new spouse.

Contact a New York Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney to Discuss Your Situation

At Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin LLP, we assist clients in all types of situations design effective estate plans. Whether you need to update a plan or start from scratch, we can assist you. Please call (212) 387-8400 or contact us online to set up a free consultation and learn more about our services today.

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