Estate Planning for a Second Marriage

  • Clifford M. Cohen,
  •   Estate Planning
  •   Comments Off on Estate Planning for a Second Marriage

For many couples, estate planning in a first marriage can be stressful and difficult enough. 

In the event of a divorce or death, estate planning for second marriages can be even harder. Why? Because a second marriage can produce different goals regarding inheritances, financial planning, long-term care, and much more. 

Understanding some of the key financial issues surrounding a second marriage can help shape your estate plan. That is why it is important to discuss any plan with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process of creating or updating your estate plan. 

Scenarios To Consider When Estate Planning for a Second Marriage

A second marriage can bring up many legitimate and important issues surrounding estate planning. Both spouses should be aware of these central issues when updating their individual estate plans or drafting a new estate plan together. Oftentimes, spouses will have to consider scenarios such as:

  • What assets will be left to each of the children?
  • Does the couple have plans for additional children, and if so what assets will be preserved for them?
  • Which assets will each spouse continue to hold individually, if any?
  • Are there any assets that will be retitled to include both of your names?
  • Will one of the spouses or both be bringing any debt into the marriage?
  • Does each spouse need to update an existing will?
  • Will a new joint will be established?


Examining these scenarios together can help a couple can get a better sense of the other’s perspective on estate planning. It will also serve as a way to organize the assets and liabilities that each spouse will be bringing to the marriage. 


Estate Planning for Second Marriages With Children

Children from a prior relationship or marriage can add an additional wrinkle to your estate planning efforts when you are getting remarried. For example, a person may want to leave certain assets to the children from a previous relationship, while the new spouse may want the assets to be distributed equally between all of the children new or existing. 

When there are children in the picture, it is important to consider any provisions you have already made for them in a will or trust and how it might affect any assets your spouse stands to inherit. This may require an individual to update an existing will or establish a separate marital trust to ensure that the spouse receives the share of assets they deserve while still preserving the children’s inheritance. 

Check Beneficiary Designations

If entering into a second marriage, assets that have already had a named beneficiary may need to be updated. Examples include 401k’s, individual retirement accounts, or life insurance policies. Oftentimes these assets are reassigned to the new spouse or are designated to a trust that the former spouse cannot collect on. 


The Bottom Line: Estate Planning for a Second Marriage


Deciding what is fair in a second marriage and estate planning can be tricky, which is why it is important to get the conversation started early. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand what the biggest challenges are in a second marriage, and will work with you to help shape a plan that can satisfy you both. 

At The Law Offices of Clifford M Cohen, we help individuals draft comprehensive estate plans that work. We are genuinely invested in your well-being and establish long-term relationships with our clients. In doing so we provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind by planning your estate with the help of an experienced professional. Contact us today at 202-895-2799 or visit our contact us page for a free case evaluation.