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What issues come up when estate planning after a second marriage?

Not all marriages are meant to last. Unfortunately, this means that many people in New Jersey will someday divorce, even after years or decades of marriage. However, some of these individuals find love again in the form of a second marriage. A second marriage, while it is usually a joy, can also bring some estate planning questions to the forefront.

For example, did you know that in most states, including New Jersey, if you die without a will, your spouse stands to inherit your estate? Moreover, even if you try to disinherit your spouse in a will, your spouse may have the legal ability to make an elective share of the deceased's community property. In addition, without a power of attorney or medical directive, in general it is the new spouse who is given the authority to make these decisions if you become incapacitated. In addition, assets such as life insurance policies name a beneficiary. If you do not update these plans, it's possible that your ex will remain as the beneficiary of the policy, even if it is against your wishes.

While some people may want their new spouse to inherit all and do not have a problem with this, if you have children from a previous marriage, you may want to create or update an estate plan, to reflect what you want their children to inherit or if you want an adult child named as power of attorney or executor of your estate. In addition, it is important to consider whether or not you will put your new spouse's name on your home mortgage or deed, so that the new spouse a place of residence should you die first.

These are only a few aspects of estate planning that are affected by a second marriage. While marriage is a blessing, it is important to think clearly about your estate planning matters, for the benefit of yourself, your adult children from a previous marriage and your new spouse.

Source: CNBC, "Getting remarried? Protect your assets and your interests," Deborah Nason, July 28, 2016

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