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Some important estate planning considerations for those who have remarried

In the immediate aftermath of a prolonged and particularly acrimonious divorce, it's not uncommon for people to vow that they will never remarry, as they simply wouldn't want to put themselves or their children at risk of having to endure the experience all over again.

However, the reality is that love works in mysterious ways. Indeed, chances are always good that many of these people who have foresworn marriage will find themselves taking yet another walk down the aisle.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with this, it's important for anyone who remarries -- whether for a second, third or even fourth time -- to understand that once the ceremony is over, serious consideration should be given to revisiting their estate plan to ensure that it accurately reflects both their goals and their new reality.

Interestingly, experts indicate that while this will entail revisiting -- and likely rewriting -- wills and/or trusts, guardianships and advance health care directives, it also involves addressing at least two other vital issues:

  • Changing beneficiary designations: It's important for newlyweds not to overlook the need to update beneficiary designations for things like retirement accounts, bank accounts and life insurance policies, as they will not be automatically invalidated upon divorce. In other words, unless beneficiary designations are changed, an ex-spouse could stand to inherit significant assets.
  • Retitling the house: While it's natural for newlyweds to want to devote considerable time into setting up a home that both of them can enjoy -- especially when one is moving into another's place -- it's also important for them to consider the need to plan for the future. To that end, the homeowner spouse needs to consider where their new spouse and housemate will live in the event they pass away and, if necessary, add their name to the mortgage and deed.

Whether you are looking to revisit your estate plan after getting remarried or would just like to learn more about asset protection strategies in general, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.  

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