LegalJourney Blog

Monday, December 21, 2015

How a Second Marriage Affects Your Estate Plan

Are there any specific estate planning concerns for those that are getting married for the second time?

For someone who is entering a second marriage, it is imperative to establish an estate plan or review his or her  existing plan. Estate planning at the time of your second marriage is critical to ensure your wishes are carried out.  For someone entering a second marriage, estate planning concerns often stem from the competing interests of the new spouse and the children of the previous marriage.  You want to make sure both parties are treated fairly.  It is important to remember that in the State of Florida, you cannot disinherit your spouse and that he or she is entitled to receive one third of your estate (Section 732.2065).  

If you fail to put a trust in place or at least have a will, your assets will be subject to intestacy statutes and be divided accordingly.  The benefit of a trust is that it allows the surviving spouse to benefit from the trust income and the remaining assets to pass to the children after that person’s death.  Pre- and post-nuptial agreements are also used to address financial matters before or during the marriage.  These can limit the disagreements that might arise after your death.

The primary residence is an asset commonly at issue when there is a second marriage.  You want the surviving spouse to have somewhere to live but granting him or her a life estate makes it possible that the home will be run down or sold and your children will receive less than they should have or nothing at all.  Therefore, many attorneys use a right of occupancy instead of a life estate.  This allows the spouse to live in the home until certain conditions are met terminating the right.

If you are entering into your second marriage, you should consult an attorney to establish or modify your estate plan.


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Attorney Karnardo Garnett represents clients with their Estate Planning, Elder Law and Asset Protection needs throughout the Tampa Bay Area, serving all of the bay area, including but not limited to Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Gibsonton, Riverview, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, Hillsborough County, and Pinellas County, FL



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