New Jersey residents who are preparing for their second marriage may be excited about their upcoming nuptials. However, with a remarriage comes many financial concerns, including estate planning.
For example, real estate is a concern. The spouses may live in a home that, for instance, the wife may want to give to her children once she dies. In that case, the house must be in the wife's name only. However, the wife may not want the children to kick the husband out of the house once she dies, so she can create a life estate, and allow her husband to live there until he dies. At that time, the children inherit the home.
Complicated estate planning can lead to family disputes. Even those with wills may see a portion of their assets automatically go to their spouses. Sometimes this can be up to 50 percent of the assets. To avoid this, spouses should use trusts or prenuptial agreements that clearly state who gets what.
Many couples forego marriage and opt to live together instead because spouses are often responsible for each other's medical bills, including long-term care. Staying single allows each person to qualify for benefits individually, while protecting each other's assets.
It is important for spouses to make no assumptions in the estate planning process, especially when their assets are at stake. The state will make a will for the deceased person without taking everything into consideration and without any exceptions made. Not having an estate plan in place can cause family disputes, which can lead to costly and lengthy probate hearings.
Source: Daily Herald, "Savvy Senior: Financial considerations when remarrying," Jim Miller, Dec. 17, 2012