If you’re going to being tying the knot once again, don’t neglect to update your estate plan. Even if you amended it after your divorce (or your spouse’s death), it’s important to go through it ahead of your remarriage – especially if you have children. If you’ve been putting off creating an estate plan, don’t put it off any longer.
Every family situation is unique, as is every estate plan. Let’s look at just a few things that are particularly important for most people as they remarry.
You’ll likely need to revise your will (or change any trusts that your will references) to designate what assets you want your spouse and your children to receive after you’re gone. Don’t make the mistake of leaving everything to your new spouse and counting on them to divide them fairly with your children. That can cause or exacerbate distrust and resentment and can easily end in a nasty court battle after you die.
Powers of attorney and administrators
You may want your new spouse to have power of attorney (POA) over their finances and health care and be your health care agent should you become incapacitated. You may also choose them to be the executor of your estate. You may prefer to give one of your adult children some or all of these roles.
However you divide these authorities, it’s best to make sure the people you’re naming want the responsibility. You can name multiple people to share in each role, but that’s not always a good idea – particularly if there’s a chance they’ll have disagreements.
These are a crucial (and too often forgotten) part of estate planning. Make sure that any accounts and insurance policies that have beneficiary designations reflect your current situation. The names on the accounts and policies themselves override whatever your estate plan may say about them if they’re not the same.
If you never got around to removing your ex-spouse from your estate plan or your beneficiary designations, this would be the time to do it (as long as it doesn’t violate any of your divorce agreements).
It’s a lot to think about at a time you’d probably rather focus on your new life ahead. However, with experienced legal guidance, you can detail your revised wishes comprehensively and prevent conflict and confusion later.