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Friday, September 29, 2017

Estate Planning and Second Marriages

How might my second marriage affect my estate plan?

American families today are increasingly blended.  It is estimated that about four out of every ten new marriages include at least one person who has been married before, according to data released by the United States Census Bureau.  Estate planning can take on heightened importance when second marriages and children from previous relationships are involved.  As you enter into your second union, take some time to review and update your current estate plan or craft a comprehensive plan if you do not yet have one.   

Florida Intestacy Laws

It is vital that you understand what would happen if you passed away without an estate plan in place in Florida.  Under Florida law, when a person dies without an estate plan, his or her estate will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy.  According to the law, 50 percent of your assets would go to your children who are not the children of your surviving spouse, and the remaining 50 percent will go to your surviving spouse.  

Additionally, your estate will likely be subject to probate.  It could face heavy taxation and may be tied up in the court system for months or even longer.  You can potentially avoid court mandated distribution of your asset and costly probate by making an estate plan.

Take Control Over Your Estate

To ensure your hard earned assets go to the people you want to receive them, it is important that you make a will and consider forming a trust.  With a will, you can name a guardian for your minor child and appoint an individual who will administer your estate.  A will gives you the power to protect your children and your surviving spouse. A trust allows you even more say in who will receive your assets and when.  It can additionally allow your estate to avoid probate.

If you have an old will that you did not update once you got remarried, your surviving spouse will need to make a clam for a portion of the estate.  The process of making a claim against the estate can be costly and time consuming.  To ensure your new spouse is not left in the position of struggling to get his or her fair share of your assets, take the time to amend your will to reflect your current life status


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