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Estate planning concerns in a second marriage

For some Delaware residents, getting married for a second time does not require as much pomp and circumstance as it did the first time. On the other hand, some of the premarital preparations are actually more important before to a second marriage. Estate planning is one of those issues -- especially if there are children from a prior marriage.

Many Delaware residents want to provide for their spouses after they die, but also want to make sure that their children receive an inheritance upon death. However, a surviving spouse is entitled to a certain amount of assets of the decedent's estate, regardless of what is in the will. Therefore, children might not receive the inheritance that the parent intended.

This is where a prenuptial agreement becomes an estate-planning tool. Each party can waive his or her right to the other party's separate property. This would permit each of them to leave their assets to their children or anyone else that they choose. Other estate planning documents such as trusts can be used to protect other assets from being used for the long-term care of the other spouse, which would leave the trust assets available for the children.

Depending on each party's financial situation prior to a second marriage and each party's wishes and goals, different documents might be needed. Fortunately, estate planning is an area of law that can be tailored to each individual. So long as they contain certain language required by law and are executed in accordance with the law, each person's wishes should be carried out upon death.

Source: aarp.org, "The Second-Marriage Dilemma", Jane Bryant Quinn, April 29, 2016

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