For many of my clients, they are on their second marriage. Recently, I was speaking with a married couple who told me that they each had been married before and have adult children from a prior marriage. Both clients had completely different needs when it came to their estate planning.
One spouse wanted her estate to go outright to her children out of a desire to remain honorable and faithful to their prior marriage to her now deceased spouse.
The other spouse wanted to provide for his new spouse in the event of death, while also providing for his children from their prior marriage.
This creates a unique situation and conversation for the family. They both have differing needs and may need different strategies. There are several legal strategies that may be appropriate for this family.
1. A Joint Revocable Living Trust Where One-Half of the Trust Assets Become Irrevocable Upon the Death of the First Spouse.
This allows the family to provide for their children from their first marriages, while providing for each other.
2. Separate Revocable Living Trusts
This allows each spouse to have their own estate planning strategy based on their differing needs.
3. A Joint Revocable Living Trust with a Bypass Trust
This entitles the surviving spouse to receive income only from the trust assets, with the remaining assets to pass to the children after death.
These types of conversations occur in my office nearly every single day, and it is important to have these conversations when you have a second marriage and blended family. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Then the assets that you spent a lifetime to accumulate for your children end up with your new spouse’s family, or if he or she remarries again, their new spouse and family.
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If you have questions regarding how to structure the best estate planning strategy for you and your family, then please contact our office so we can have a conversation with you and your family regarding your estate planning needs.
We look forward to hearing from you!