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The perils of ignoring estate planning when remarrying

Remarrying generally brings about a lot of changes. In the midst of preparing for this new phase of his or her life, it can be very important for a person who is getting remarried to give some attention to estate planning. This can especially be the case if she or he has kids from a prior marriage.

Failing to give attention to estate planning upon remarrying can open the door to a lot of problematic things when a person passes away, such as:

  • The distribution of his or her estate being directed by state law (this is called intestacy) or outdated estate planning documents/provisions
  • His or her children from a prior marriage accidentally getting disinherited
  • His or her property being distributed in a very different way than he or she would have wanted (such as unintended distributions to an ex)
  • Major disputes arising within his or her family about how the estate will be distributed

What can individuals do when remarrying to avoid these problems? Steps that can be taken include:

  • If they do not yet have estate planning mechanisms in place (such as a will or trusts), forming ones that take into account their new family situation
  • If they already have an estate plan in place, updating it to reflect their new situation and goals
  • Updating their beneficiary designations and asset titling to reflect any changes in their wishes

When making or updating an estate plan in response to a major life event, such as remarriage, getting the details right matters a great deal. So, having quality legal help can be of considerable importance when taking such measures.

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