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Couples who are either considering or are in a second marriage in New York should review and update their estate plans to ensure that the marriage does not impact how their assets are left upon their passing. Of course, the best time to review and update your estate plans is before the wedding, however, there are options if you are already married. Here are 5 estate planning tips for second marriages:
Create an inventory
Each spouse should create an inventory of all his/her assets and debts and share it with the other person. You should list bank and brokerage accounts, life insurance policies, annuity contracts, real estate, valuable personal property, pensions, retirement funds, and business interests. You should also take into consideration any debts you may have, including debts you may have guaranteed.
Discuss how you want to handle finances during your lifetimes
Once you understand your individual assets and debts, you will need to decide if you want to combine assets. You should also discuss who you would like to handle your finance if you lose capacity and have a Durable Power of Attorney prepared according to these wishes.
Discuss what you want to happen with your assets when you die
You and your spouse will need to figure out where each of you wants your assets to go when you die. Although it can be complicated if you have a child/children from a previous marriage, there are options to ensure that your children and your spouse are both provided for upon your passing.
Consult with an Elder Law and Estate planning attorney
It is very important that you consult with an experienced estate planning and elder law attorney who can review your existing estate planning documents, guide you through the process of updating these documents, and make recommendations about additional documents that will help meet your goals. If you are divorced you should bring all documents related to your divorce with you, including the divorce decree and any support agreements.
Update your beneficiary designations
It is wise to review and update your beneficiary designations on all your assets (retirement accounts, brokerage/bank accounts, life insurance policies, etc.). It is possible that you may have previously named your former spouse as beneficiary on your 401(k) or life insurance policy, and this may be contrary to your current intentions. You should speak with your estate planning or elder law attorney about your beneficiary designations.
Proper New York estate planning can ensure that the loved one(s) of your choosing remain(s) in control of your assets and decision-making should you become unable to carry out your own wishes.
In addition to these 5 estate planning tips for second marriages, the Russo Law Group, P.C. helps you and your loved ones handle Estate Planning, Elder Law, Special Needs Planning, Medicaid Planning, Trust & Estate, Guardianship, Small Business Planning, and Real Estate Law. We welcome you to contact our Garden City, Lido Beach, or Islandia, New York law offices to learn more about how we can help address your estate planning legal matters.