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A second marriage may present estate planning challenges

Deciding to remarry can bring with it a slew of difficult decisions, especially if there are children from a previous relationship. Things come up during the planning stages of creating a new family consisting of children you and your new spouse may share with a prior one.

Something that may become a sticky situation is your estate plan. Once you wed someone else, you will have to give significant consideration to a few issues, so they do not wind up burdening your family should you die suddenly.

Premarital property

Illinois, like many states, considers premarital property separate from the marital pot. If there was a divorce, the court does not divide premarital property. In the case of death, the same may apply. Separate property may not automatically pass to a surviving spouse.

Prior divorce decree

A complication to creating a new estate plan for a second marriage is a previous divorce decree and any condition that requires you to keep your former spouse as a beneficiary. In some divorces, the couple may not split a retirement account but instead, list the other as the beneficiary. Also, some decrees may stipulate that the person paying child support has to keep the recipient as the beneficiary of property or money in an estate plan. These conditions cannot change unless the court orders it.

Leaving money to your children

Possibly the most challenging thing to handle in a second marriage estate plan is how to avoid disinheriting children. Whether this second marriage occurs while children are minors or well into middle age, you want to ensure that they get the money or property you have designated for them. A trust is probably the safest way to deal with passing an inheritance onto children from outside the marriage. A trust is a safe haven and allows the designator to bypass a spouse to leave money to specific beneficiaries.

A second marriage is a time of renewal. The best way to avoid an uncomfortable is to have an open conversation about estate planning concerns.