Proper estate planning is critical in multiple marriage situations. It is the new normal for Tennessean’s to have been married more than once. Married people often mistakenly believe that if they each keep their accounts in their own name, they will avoid problems upon a death or divorce because they each have their own accounts. Tennessee’s marital property laws, however, don’t work that way. The government has written your estate plan for you in case you have not taken steps to plan it for yourself. In no area of estate planning is this more true than in situations where someone has been married more than once.
I was meeting with a really intelligent woman a few weeks ago who was considering remarriage. She wanted to set up her will now before she was married so it was taken care of. She was shocked to find out what could happen if she passed away first even though she had a will and had made provision for her new husband! She had no idea that Tennessee has a system of forced spousal inheritance.
If you are considering remarriage or you already have married again, it is so important that you understand Tennessee’s forced inheritance laws before you establish your estate plan with your spouse (or even better – before you have a new spouse!)