A common scenario that I hear when I speak with clients for the first time is when the client tells me that this is not their first marriage. I was speaking with a married couple recently in my office who told that they each had been married before and have adult children from prior a prior marriage. One spouse was previously divorced, and one spouse was widowed. However, both had completely different needs and wishes when it came to their estate planning.
One of the spouses wanted everything at their death going outright to their children regardless, out of a desire to remain honorable and faithful to their prior marriage to their now deceased spouse.
The other spouse wanted to provide for their new spouse in the event of death, while also providing for their children from their prior marriage.
This creates a unique situation and conversation for the family to have with their estate attorney. They both have differing needs and may need differing strategies. However, there may be a number of legal strategies that may be appropriate for this family.
- A Joint Revocable Living Trust Where One-Half of the Trust Assets Become Irrevocable Upon the Death of the First Spouse.
- This Allows Them to Provide for Their Children From Their First Marriage, While Providing for Each Other.
- Separate Revocable Living Trusts
- This Allows Each Spouse to Have Their Own Estate Planning Strategy Based Upon Their Differing Needs and Differing Wishes.
- A Joint Revocable Living Trust with a Bypass Trust That Entitles the Surviving Spouse to Receive Income Only from the Trust Assets, With The Remaining Assets to Pass to the Children After Death
These type 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 that you can do is to do nothing, and 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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