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Estate planning consideration for a second marriage

Many Delaware residents are fortunate enough to find love a second time in their lives. Getting married for the second time often brings with it financial issues that need to be worked out between the parties. Some may forget that estate planning should also be looked at since each party may bring their own assets, debts and children to the marriage. How those assets are controlled and passed on after death depends on the parties.

Before making any decisions regarding changes to an estate plan, each party might consider several factors that could affect the distribution of assets after death. First, if the parties share a home owned by one of them prior to the marriage, will the other spouse be allowed to remain in the home after the legal owner's death? If so, will the home be given to the surviving spouse or will he or she only be given the right to live there until death, at which point ownership is passed on to an heir of the legal owner?

What happens if one spouse dies and the other remarries in the future? Assets that were actually intended for children or others related to the deceased spouse could end up commingled, and the intended heirs lose out on an inheritance. These questions need to be addressed in each spouse's estate plan, often through the use of a trust.

To accurately determine the best way to structure an estate plan for a second marriage, each party may want to consult with a Delaware attorney who handles estate planning. Since there are numerous options to protect assets for children from a prior relationship or other intended heirs, it would be useful to explore all of the options before making a decision. Once a course of action is determined and documented, everyone can have peace of mind that distributions will be made in accordance with a decedent's wishes.

Source: Forbes, "Second Marriage And Estate Planning: 5 Things You May Not Have Considered", Mark Eghrari, June 2, 2017

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