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Remarrying? Your estate plan might get more complicated

These days, it is not uncommon to know people who are on their second, third or even fourth marriages. Divorce and remarriage have become much more typical during the last 50 years, which means that if you are working toward your second marriage, you are not crossing into uncharted territory. While getting married a second time is fairly easy, the financial and estate planning consequences could cause you a headache.

A blended family can create any number of issues when it comes to things like long-term care planning and inheritances. In other words, if you plan to remarry, you should also plan to perform an overhaul on your estate plan. Consider these things when it comes time to update your will and other estate plan documents.

Keep some things separate

If you are already dealing with a financial situation with a former spouse, consider keeping certain expenses and property separate instead of commingling with your second wife. For example, if your ex-wife took possession of your Cape Coral home and is supposed to be making the mortgage payments but defaults, creditors could come knocking on your door if your name is still attached to the home loan.

In general, creditors do not care what a divorce decree says. They will contact all responsible parties listed on the loan in order to collect the debt. You can save your marriage from becoming involved in such a conflict by keeping your accounts separate.

Protect your children

If you have children from a first marriage, their inheritance might be at risk if you remarry. For instance, if you pass away before your second wife, she could end up with the bulk of your estate and pass it on to her family at her death, effectively leaving your children disinherited. You can avoid this by setting aside the assets you wish to leave to your children and placing them in a trust. This way, the assets will no longer be part of your estate and will pass to the beneficiaries listed on the trust.

In addition, you should consider things like community property versus common law, updating your durable power of attorney and possibly changing the health care directive. If you are considering a second marriage, take the time to do some extra estate planning to ensure your wishes are clear.

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