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Second Marriage and Estate Planning

Caleb Bland Law, PLLC July 26, 2023

According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, among individuals 15 years and older, about 13% of males and 14% of females have married twice. After a major life change, such as remarriage, it is important that you review and update your will and other estate planning documents. This allows you to make adequate provision for your new partner and children from your current and previous relationship. In addition, it will help ensure that the new provisions of your estate plan are consistent with your current wishes. 

At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, we're dedicated to offering personalized legal counsel and trusted advocacy to clients in estate planning and remarriage-related matters. Our seasoned attorney is available to discuss your unique situation and enlighten you about some vital considerations when drafting or reviewing and updating your estate plan to include your new partner and family. We proudly serve clients across Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Louisville, Bardstown, Hodgenville, and Hart County, Kentucky. 

Rights of a Surviving Spouse in Kentucky

Kentucky follows the law referred to as "dower and curtesy." According to the law, if there is no valid will, prenuptial agreement, or any other written contract, the decedent's surviving spouse will inherit half (50%) of the intestate property. 

In addition, the surviving spouse will also receive half of the decedent's real property to give away or sell and one-third of the decedent's real property to use while they're still alive. The remaining assets will be transferred to the deceased person's descendants, siblings, and parents. 

What to Consider When Creating an Estate Plan in a Second Marriage

Create a Prenuptial Agreement

If you are entering the second marriage with massive assets and property, create a prenup. A premarital agreement can help protect your assets, clarify expectations, cater to your children from previous relationships, and ultimately achieve financial security. In addition, it will allow you to have an open and honest conversation with your new partner about the things that matter to you. 

Protect Assets With Living Trusts

Furthermore, there are numerous benefits to creating a living trust. A trust affords you control over how your property, assets, and money are distributed. In addition, a trust allows your assets to bypass lengthy and costly probate proceedings. It can also help protect your property – or any asset you want to leave for your children – in the event of a divorce. 

Leave Inheritance of the Children

Once you enter a second marriage, the new marriage's laws will address marital or community property. In Kentucky, marital assets are divided equitably and fairly in a divorce. As a result, your second spouse may receive some assets that could have been meant for your children from the previous marriage. Therefore, you should take your children's inheritance into account when creating or updating your estate plan. 

Update Beneficiaries

As mentioned earlier, remarriage is a major life change, and you may consider revising some of your previous decisions. Update the beneficiaries on your life insurance policy, retirement plan, and annuity to be consistent with your present situation. If you can't change the beneficiaries in your second marriage, you should buy additional life insurance policies or retirement plans to include your new spouse. 

Make Provisions for Long-Term Care Costs

Finally, you should consider the cost of a nursing home and the long-term care costs of your new partner. Ensure that you make suitable provisions for this in your estate plan in the event that there is a need for it later in life. 

A knowledgeable lawyer can help create your vital estate planning documents and educate you about the possible mistakes to avoid. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Anyone crafting an estate plan in their second marriage should be aware of some of the most common legal pitfalls: 

  • Ignoring financial discussions with your current partner. 

  • Failing to update your wills or change beneficiary designations 

  • Treating all beneficiaries and heirs equally. 

  • Not discussing your estate plans with your new family. 

  • Unnecessarily delaying giving gifts, inheritance, or money to your descendants. 

  • Not updating or changing your financial documents. 

  • Not removing your ex-partner from your estate plan. 

  • Not adding your current partner to your estate plan. 

  • Failure to work with an estate planning attorney. 

A skilled estate planning attorney can advise you about the right things to do or avoid when creating an estate plan in your second marriage and help you navigate crucial decisions. 

Protect What Matters Most

When creating or updating your estate planning documents in your second marriage, getting experienced guidance and advocacy is crucial to avoid costly mistakes. Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, is here to advise and guide clients through the complexities involved in estate planning and second marriages

As your legal counsel, we can examine your needs and determine the ideal estate plan for your unique situation. In addition, we will help create important documents, identify assets for each child, update beneficiaries, and help manage your financial plan. Our attorney will work diligently to address your needs and concerns and help make adequate provisions for your family members. 

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with a dependable lawyer. We can guide you through the estate planning process from start to finish and help you make informed decisions. Our firm proudly serves clients across Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Louisville, Leitchfield, Hodgenville, and Meade County, Kentucky.