Second marriages can help individuals cope with the pain associated with losing a spouse through death or divorce. If other beneficiaries are involved, you should consider what will happen to your assets after you pass away. You cannot guarantee that everyone in a blended family will be happy with the arrangements associated with your second marriage. Fortunately, however, it’s possible to avoid some mistakes so your family does not lose out on receiving an inheritance. With adequate estate planning, you can also make sure that your former spouse does not receive an inheritance if you do not intend so. To better prepare your estate if you’re in a second marriage, this article reviews several estate planning tips that you should consider utilizing.
# 1 – You Don’t Have to Treat All Heirs Equally
Most spouses do not marry while they are in equal financial positions. This is even more true for second marriages. If your new spouse moves into your residence, you might want your children to receive proceeds when your home is sold instead of your new spouse. Remember, in these situations, there is no established order that your assets must pass on equally to your children. There are various reasons why you might decide to treat your children unequally including children with disabilities, children who suffer from gambling conditions, or various other factors.
# 2 You Can Pass on Assets Before You Pass Away
If you plan on leaving assets to your children, you should consider making gifts to your children now instead of later. You will receive the pleasure of seeing them use these assets while you are still alive. You can gift up to $15,000 to an individual without being subject to the federal gift tax. Furthermore, it’s important to understand that you can make an infinite number of these gifts, and provided they are less than $15,000, you won’t have to notify the Internal Revenue Service.
# 3 – Remember to Review Beneficiary Designations
One of the most common estate planning mistakes that people make is not changing their will, retirement account, or estate planning documents to reflect changes with beneficiary designations. If you fail to update these terms, your assets can end up passing in an undesirable manner. One of the advantages of changing the name of your beneficiary is that assets will directly pass to the intended individual and there is not a risk that your assets end up passing in an undesired manner. While you’re in the process of updating estate planning documents, you should also remember to revise legal directives like powers of attorney so that these documents also appoint the appropriate individual if you no longer wish for your former spouse to function in this position.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning
If you or your loved one needs the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney, you should not hesitate to contact Ettinger Law Firm. During a free case evaluation, our attorneys can discuss some of the available options you might use to achieve your goals.