Estate Planning: Planning to Remarry

Before a remarriage you should discuss your estate plans. This changes from should to must when there are children from a previous relationship. Do you want to leave everything to the kids, or half to the kids and half to the new spouse? If you want to benefit both grown children and your current spouse, decide whether the kids should receive an immediate inheritance or be forced to wait for the death of the surviving spouse. Whatever you decide, spell it out in a prenuptial agreement.

In a remarriage what a surviving spouse receives is often tied to the length of that marriage. For example, a prenup between can state that a spouse is entitled to 25% from the date of marriage through the tenth anniversary and 50% after the tenth anniversary. The remaining part of the estate would be given to the children.

If you later change your mind, you can alter the agreement. However, it is important that when people remarry with children from a previous marriage they discuss these estate issues. Also, making your children aware of your decisions can lessen the tension after your demise. Your new spouse will be thankful you did so. The moral is sign a prenup; it is a lot easier to increase a new spouse’s inheritance than it is to limit it.