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Five estate planning considerations for your second marriage

A second marriage brings a lot of change with it. You may end up living in a different home or change employment. Because of all these transitions, there is the tendency to put off some important tasks for a later time. One area of life that is often neglected but no less vital is the need to modify your beneficiary designations and will. If you are about to embark on a second marriage, here are five important considerations in relation to your estate planning.

Start before the marriage

The best thing you can do for your new marriage is to talk about the subject of your wills before you even tie the knot. Discuss how to successfully bring them together. This will give you both the opportunity to talk about what is best for you and your families. Don't wait until you are in the middle of 'change stress' shortly after you're married. Thinking ahead will give you increased confidence and peace going into your new marriage.

Meet with a lawyer

If you feel a little overwhelmed about how to combine your wills, that's completely normal. You may find it difficult to know where to start. A great first step is to make an appointment with a local lawyer who specializes in this area. One simple appointment will give you an opportunity to sit down with an expert and get their take on the matter. The issue of wills and beneficiaries can be an emotionally charged discussion at times. It doesn't have to be, though. Your local lawyer will help you wade through all of the details, making it as stress-free as possible.

Second marriage differences

It's important to remember the differences between the first marriage and second marriage in relation to wills. In a first marriage, both individuals generally have the same goals and agreed-upon plan to carry them out if either spouse were to pass away. Spouses in second marriages often have different assets and their own children from a previous marriage. There may end up being new children between the married couple as well.

Both spouses want to know that their biological children will receive a fair inheritance. Unfortunately, because of poor estate planning, this does not always happen. Coming up with specific plans with a lawyer will ensure that the desires of each spouse are carried out appropriately. As much as we would like to think that a verbal agreement is enough, this can often lead to one side of the family not getting the inheritance that they should have had.

Listed beneficiaries over a will

Many individuals going into a second marriage don't realize an important fact. One of the most crucial things to understand is that listed beneficiaries hold more weight than a will. Many wrongly believe that it's actually the other way around. Understandably, this can result in a multitude of problems down the road. An updated will is not enough. Even if your will is updated, your estate and assets will go to whomever you have listed as your beneficiary if you don't update that list. 

It will take time and effort to make sure that your spouse and children are provided for appropriately in the event of your passing away. Having a skilled lawyer to help you with all of these nuances will go a long way towards success.

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Leonard F. Berg, Attorney at Law