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Second Marriage and Estate Planning

Law Office Of Corey J. Rossi April 11, 2023

Consulting with Estate AgentEstablishing a well-detailed estate plan is crucial to plan for life’s uncertainties and to provide specific instructions about how your affairs and estate should be settled when you’re gone. For individuals in a second marriage thinking about estate planning, there are some crucial things to always keep in mind. While you include your new partner in your estate plan, you should also update your beneficiaries and make suitable provisions for your dependents and children from previous relationships. 

At the Law Office Of Corey J. Rossi, we walk our clients through the challenges involved in creating estate plans in second marriages. Our New York State estate planning attorneys will listen to your situation and help you understand the different legal options that are available to you. We’re proud to serve clients across Tonawanda, Wheatfield, Amherst, Erie County, and Niagara County, New York. 

Rights of a Surviving Spouse in New York 

According to New York law, the surviving spouse of a deceased person – who was legally married at the time of the death – is entitled to inherit an “elective” share of the decedent’s estate. If the deceased person died intestate and without any children, their surviving spouse will receive the whole estate. However, if the decedent dies intestate but with surviving children, the surviving spouse will receive $50,000 plus one-half of the remaining estate. 

What to Consider When Creating an Estate Plan in a Second Marriage  

When establishing an estate plan in your second or subsequent marriage, there are some vital things to consider. These include: 

Establish a Prenuptial Agreement  

When going into a second marital relationship with a huge amount of assets, you may need to make a prenuptial agreement with your engaged spouse. The premarital agreement will allow you to have an honest and open conversation with your new partner about what actually matters to both of you. Also, it will help protect your assets and finances, define expectations, and make suitable provisions for children from your prior marriage. 

Consider Your Children’s Inheritance 

Under New York State law, you cannot totally disinherit your current spouse. While you leave a portion of your assets to your new partner, you should also think about your children’s inheritance. Hence, to ensure that your children don’t lose the majority of their future inheritance to your new spouse, you should make adequate provisions for them in your estate plan.  

Establish a Trust to Protect Your Assets 

Furthermore, you can protect your assets and property before remarrying by creating a living trust. The trust allows you to keep away assets for future generations or for your children until a future date. In addition, any assets placed into the trust will bypass the lengthy and costly court-supervised probate process in New York State. 

Update Beneficiaries  

Additionally, update the list of beneficiaries on your annuity, life insurance policy, and retirement plans. Adding or removing beneficiaries, depending on your current situation, will help ensure that the new updates are in line with your present wishes. In some cases, you may need to purchase extra life insurance policies or retirement plans to allow you to add your new spouse. 

Consider the Cost of Long-Term Care 

Also, you should consider the cost of receiving long-term care or living in a nursing home for your partner. Whether there is a prenup or not, you will still be responsible for the cost of long-term care when there is a need for it. Therefore, you should make adequate provision for this when creating or updating your estate plan. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid  

When drafting or updating an estate plan in a second marriage, you should avoid the following potential pitfalls and mistakes:  

  • Not discussing about estate planning with your loved ones and close relatives.  

  • Failure to update your wills.  

  • Treating all beneficiaries and heirs equally.  

  • Failing to change or update your financial documents.  

  • Delaying giving inheritances, gifts, or money to your children.  

  • Failing to add your new spouse in your estate plan.  

  • Failing to discuss your finances with your current spouse.  

  • Not removing your ex-spouse from your estate plan.  

  • Failing to change beneficiary designations.  

  • Not working with a reliable estate planning lawyer.  

Whether you are creating or updating an estate plan in a second marriage, working with an experienced estate planning attorney is imperative for detailed guidance and to avoid making costly errors. 

Protect What Matters Most 

Drafting or updating an estate plan in a second marriage usually involves a lot of complex procedures. For detailed guidance and to protect what matters to you the most, consulting with a trusted estate planning lawyer is vital. 

At the Law Office Of Corey J. Rossi, our attorneys are poised and ready to assist and direct clients in estate planning matters involving second marriages. With our broad knowledge, we can determine the right inheritance and assets to leave for your children, outline a strategic plan to protect your accumulated assets and wealth, and help draft or update your estate plan with your new spouse. 

Contact us at the Law Office Of Corey J. Rossi today to arrange an initial consultation with seasoned estate planning lawyers. Our dependable attorneys can provide everything you need to navigate key decisions in your estate planning matters. We proudly serve clients across Tonawanda, Wheatfield, Amherst, Erie County, and Niagara County, New York.