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Second Marriage and Estate Planning

StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law April 6, 2023

Estate planning allows you to set forth specific instructions in advance concerning how your property, assets, and investments should be managed, disposed of, or distributed when you’re no more. However, when in a second marriage, there are several considerations you need to put in mind when drafting your estate plan. Apart from creating or updating the estate plan to include your new spouse, you should also remember to make suitable provisions for your children from the previous marriage or relationship. 

At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we have the resources to walk clients through complicated estate planning matters involving second marriages. Our practiced Ohio estate planning attorneys can tell you about your various legal options and strategize an effective plan to draft or update your estate plan with your new spouse. Our firm proudly serves clients across Dayton, Miamisburg, Warren, Clark County, Greene County, and Butler County, Ohio.  

Rights of a Surviving Spouse in Ohio

When a person dies with a valid will in Ohio, their surviving spouse may choose to accept what they’ve been given under the decedent’s will or contest the provisions of the will within five (5) months. Regardless of their decision, the surviving spouse will receive all jointly owned assets, one or two vehicles, and a support allowance of up to $40,000 (if there are no minor children). 

Conversely, if the decedent died without a valid will, Ohio’s intestate succession law will determine how the deceased person’s probate assets will be distributed. If there are no children, the surviving spouse will receive the entire estate. However, if the deceased is survived by one child from another relationship, the surviving spouse will receive $20,000 as spousal allowance and one-half of the remaining estate. 

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

If you’re thinking about establishing an estate plan in your second marriage, here are some vital things to consider: 

Establish a Prenuptial Agreement

When entering a second marriage with significant assets, you should consider making a prenuptial agreement. The prenup can protect your finances and assets and make adequate provisions for children from your previous marriage or relationships.  

Consider the Inheritance of Your Children

However, it is important that you consider the inheritance of your children. This allows you to make suitable provisions for them and prevent them from losing most of their future inheritance to your new partner. 

Establish a Trust to Protect Your Assets 

Additionally, you can consider establishing a living trust to leave assets for your children and future generations before remarrying. A trust allows you to keep away assets for your children until a future date. Also, creating a trust can be a sensible way to bypass the time-consuming and expensive probate process. 

Update Beneficiaries

Also, try as much as possible to update the named beneficiaries on your life insurance policy, retirement plans, and annuity. Make sure it is consistent with your current wishes. Depending on your unique circumstances, you may consider buying additional retirement plans or life insurance policies to include your new partner. 

Consider the Cost of Long-Term Care

Likewise, you may need to start planning for the cost of nursing home or long-term care of your partner. It is your responsibility to cover the cost of long-term care when there is a need for it. Therefore, ensure that this is included in your estate plan. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When creating or updating an estate plan in a second marriage, here are some common mistakes and potential pitfalls to avoid: 

  • Delaying giving inheritances, money, or gifts to your children. 

  • Not updating your wills 

  • Not changing beneficiary designations. 

  • Treating all heirs and beneficiaries equally. 

  • Not discussing about estate planning with your close family members. 

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

  • Not updating or changing your financial documents. 

  • Not including your new partner in your estate plan. 

  • Not discussing your finances with your current partner. 

  • Not working with an experienced estate planning attorney. 

Unfortunately, even the slightest error or oversight can invalidate your estate plan or result in disputes and hostilities among beneficiaries and surviving loved ones during estate settlement. Hence, you need to work with a dedicated estate planning lawyer for detailed guidance. 

Depend on Knowledgeable Legal Assistance

Updating your estate plan regularly is crucial – especially after a second or subsequent marriage – to ensure that it is consistent with your current wishes. However, creating or updating an estate plan in a second marriage can be quite complex. Therefore, consulting a knowledgeable estate planning attorney is imperative to direct you through the legal process and help you navigate key decisions.  

At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we’re passionate about giving guidance to clients in the legal matters of estate planning and second marriages. Our attorneys will help identify assets and inheritance to leave for your children and determine the ideal estate plan that best fits your unique needs. Also, we can help update your estate plan, create a list of beneficiaries, and ensure the new plan caters to all necessary provisions. 

Contact StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law today to arrange a simple consultation with a trusted estate planning attorney. Our reliable team has everything you need to make intelligent decisions. We’re proud to serve clients across Dayton, Miamisburg, Warren, Clark County, Greene County, and Butler County, Ohio.