Estate Planning for Second Marriages

Estate Planning Practice Group

Estate Planning Practice Group

Prior to saying “I do,” those getting married for a second time have many more estate plan considerations to take into account than a first-time marriage.

Children from the previous marriage and spouses often have different interests and expectations about inheritance. If a large difference in age or health status exists between the new spouses, further complications can arise.

Without some type of waiver of spousal rights, a surviving spouse may have a right to elect against the estate plan that is put in place. In Missouri, this means the surviving spouse may receive one-third (1/3) of the estate, even if the will only provides for the children.

Before embarking on the journey of marital bliss, spouses should consider whether a prenuptial agreement is appropriate, what duty they have to support each other in the event one spouse enters into a nursing home, what the laws of the state the married couple reside in are in regards to spousal rights upon death, and what the expectations of the new spouse and family members are regarding inheritance.

Addressing these issues prior to marriage can avoid costly court battles upon the death or incapacity of a spouse.

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