The importance of estate planning for remarriages

Before getting remarried, Texas couples are encouraged to openly discuss their estate planning wishes and needs.

When getting remarried whether after a previous divorce or death of a spouse, Texas residents should be able to look forward to a bright future. While that can be the case, it is also important for them to pay attention to the longer-term future after they die. Tending to important estate planning matters at this time can be an essential way of taking care of children, grandchildren and a new spouse.

Wouldn't the kids always come first?

According to the Journal of Financial Planning, the law does not automatically award estates to a person's children from a first marriage over the surviving spouse of the decedent. If a person wishes his or her children to be the primary or even sole heirs of an estate, such plans must be put in writing.

Is a will or a trust better for remarrying couples?

Whether a will or a trust is the best estate planning vehicle for a particular couple really depends upon their situation and their choices. CNBC explains that many people take advantage of what is called the qualified terminable interest property trust.

The QTIP is frequently used by couples in second or third marriages and offers specific benefits to them. It is designed to allow assets to be left to someone other than a spouse. Additionally it allows the marital tax deduction to be taken full advantage of. Income can be provided for the surviving spouse with all remaining assets going to the children of the spouse first to die.

Among the many factors that should be evaluated when developing an estate plan with a new spouse are the ages and health status of both persons and the assets and debts that each bring to the new marriage.

What about former spouses?

As explained by Fidelity Investments, it is important for people to honor their prior commitments to former spouses. It is not uncommon for divorce decrees to require that one spouse remain the named beneficiary for the other spouse's life insurance policy or retirement account, for example.

An estate plan may also be used to account for commitments to children or former spouses for support awards.

How can people get help making the right decisions?

Texas residents should reach out to an attorney before they get remarried and before they solidify their new estate plans. Getting all of the facts about their estate planning options and how to best take care of those they love can help people make the right decisions for their circumstances.