Information Every Wife Need To Know About Her Husbands Finance Estate Planning For Second Marriages – Thoughtfulness Required

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Estate Planning For Second Marriages – Thoughtfulness Required

With people living longer than in the past, the frequency of remarriage is increasing, even in later years. This latter phenomenon raises a number of planning issues of older legal inheritance. On the other hand, we’re also increasingly seeing blended families with “his, hers, and theirs” kids, creating another potential set of pitfalls.

Most of these estate planning issues can be resolved with careful attention on the part of the client and the loving guidance of their estate planning attorney.

Here are some of the top issues and potential solutions for planning a second wedding.

1. The duration of the second (or third) marriage and also the relative financial position of the parties. Recently a client came to see us whose husband has early onset Alzheimer’s. Her IRA named her children as beneficiaries years ago. The couple have now been married for thirty-five years and the wife will be left destitute without her husband’s IRA. Hopefully the husband has the capacity to understand the situation and make changes. One option: the husband can hand over his IRA to his wife on condition that she names her children as beneficiaries of her death.

2. In our experience, much thought should be given to what the children of the first marriage would receive if their parents were the first of the spouses to die. By looking at the problem from the point of view of the heirs, we can often directly inherit part of the estate, or call them beneficiaries of insurance policies, so that they feel loved and cared for by their parents and are not relegated to a lower position. This is especially important if your parents are married to a much younger partner. Needless to say, this would also greatly affect their future relationship with the surviving stepparents. Recklessness in this area alone has caused a lifetime of pain and suffering to many children of remarried parents.

3. The use of a trust is often an important tool where the surviving spouse needs most of the combined assets to survive. Here, the problem becomes how to guarantee that the children of the deceased spouse will receive a fair share of the death of the surviving spouse. Typically, we set up one trust if the estate is not subject to estate taxes, or two trusts if needed to reduce or eliminate estate taxes, and have both spouses serve as joint trustees of the trust. The trust provides equal distribution between him and his family after the second death. What prevents the surviving spouse from robbing trust and giving everything to his own children? In general, we recommend a professional co-guardian to serve with the surviving spouse, to prevent this from happening.

4. Inheritance planners must consider any prenuptial agreements as well as all obligations towards children arising from divorce decisions. This may need to be amended after a few years to reflect the current situation which may have changed greatly. For example, after many years one spouse will often want to give the other the right to live in the marital home, if he or she is the survivor, something expressly prohibited in a prenuptial agreement made years before.

5. Long-term care obligations can prove to be intimidating for many couples later in life. Even a prenuptial agreement stating that the couple’s assets are separate and they have no financial obligations to one another are not binding on Medicaid. Medicaid considers the combined assets of a married couple available for the care of the sick spouse, regardless of whose name they are. Therefore, the need, amount and availability of long term care insurance are often factors considered in second marriages.

6. For wealthier spouses, one partner may wish to care for the less well-off partner for the rest of their life but then unspent funds are returned to their biological family. Here, a Qualified Terminable Interest in Property (QTIP) trust can be formed for the surviving spouse, which will (a) provide a lifetime income, (b) defer, reduce or often eliminate property taxes, and (c) protect inheritance for children from a deceased spouse.

As you can see, with a little care on your part and the help of an experienced land planning law elder attorney, often gleaned from hundreds of cases, second spouses have the ability to “do the right thing” for all parties.

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