Families come in many shapes in sizes, and may experience all kinds of changes over the years. For both divorcees and widows or widowers, second marriages are quite common. One particularly important thing to bear in mind if you’re planning to remarry is your estate planning.
One of the first factors to consider is how remarriage will affect your existing legal and financial paperwork. You’ll need to take stock of things like your will, power of attorney, designation of your pension beneficiaries, insurance policies, and more. A core prerogative in this context is that your new spouse, the children from your first marriage, and any children from your second marriage need to be provided for when it comes to inheritance. This is why rewriting your will and reviewing other legal instruments upon remarrying is such an important process, not to mention potentially setting up new trusts to ensure that certain wishes are met.
Who Owns What?
Everyone brings their own assets to a marriage and these may become entangled in a number of ways. As a result, things can get quite complex when a new spouse enters the picture. For instance, even if you rewrite your will to leave a piece of property to your second spouse, it may go to your former spouse if you haven’t updated how it is titled. Be very conscious of what assets you manage separately or jointly. Premarital agreements and trusts can be valuable tools when navigating these issues. A QTIP trust, in addition to having marital tax advantages, can be used to leave assets to your second spouse until they are ultimately left to your children.
The Importance of Dialogue
None of the legal and financial elements of remarriage and estate planning can go smoothly without careful and considerate communication. This is true for you and your family members as well as any attorneys, consultants, or other professionals helping you along the way. It should be a top priority to make all of the pre-existing agreements, arrangements, and documents with your first spouse as clear as possible from the outset so that they can be reviewed. Estate planning can be a personally challenging process as it is, but when second marriages or blended families are involved, it’s more helpful than ever to have the right mediation at hand.The MacMillan Estate Planning team works with many types of families, all of them hoping to optimize the strength and security of their wealth and legacy. If you’re in Calgary, join us for one of our upcoming free seminars. To learn more about our services, call at 1-833-266-6464 today.