When Delaware residents find another chance at love, ensuring that their affairs are in order before the nuptials might not be the first — or even the last — thing on their minds. However, any estate planning that was done prior to the marriage needs to be updated to make sure that their ability to provide for family members continues. For those who did not have an estate plan at all, this is a good time to create one.
Without a will, Delaware’s intestacy laws will determine who receives an individual’s assets. Those determinations might not be in line with what would have been chosen if given the chance. Furthermore, any separate assets each of the parties has could end up with the new spouse upon death instead of with the children or other family members for which they were intended.
Even if there is an estate plan in place, an ex-spouse could still be named on beneficiary designations for retirement accounts or insurance policies, and powers of attorney could list an agent that the individual no longer wants making health care and financial decisions on his or her behalf. These documents, along with the will — and trusts if there are any — need to be reviewed to determine whether they still meet the individual’s goals. Other issues such as whether to sign a prenuptial agreement or whether to create a new trust should be a necessary part of the wedding plans.
It might not seem pleasant to discuss the possibility of death as couples are planning their new lives together. However, like discussing finances and other topics, estate planning is an important part of planning for the future. Fortunately, an attorney can help each party determine the best way to continue to provide for family members while ensuring that a new spouse will have some financial security in the event of death.
Source: CNBC, “Remarrying? Update your estate plan“, Kelli B. Grant, Oct. 14, 2016