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Estate planning in a second marriage

In the United States, having been married more than one time is not at all uncommon. When planning a second marriage, however, many Florida residents never consider the ramifications that it could have on their estate planning. When families blend, the income and assets also intermingle, causing finances to become a bit complicated in some cases. Because of this, there are a few things to keep in mind when getting married for the second time.

First of all, both parties should let the other know if they have any old debts with an ex. If the two newlyweds combine their assets and income, creditors from those old debts could access the new couple's funds. If the wife and her ex are still paying a mortgage until their house sells, for example, and the ex stops paying, the new couple's assets may be at risk if the creditor comes after her for the money. For this reason, some couples that are involved in second marriages will set up separate accounts and pay their bills separately.

Although Florida is not a community property state, it is considered to be an equitable distribution state. What this means is that any marital property will be evenly divided should the couple ever divorce. Even if one party owned a home prior to the second marriage, the home becomes marital property if the new spouse is added to the deed.

In cases where both parties have children from a former marriage, upon one spouse's death, the couple's co-mingled assets will go to the surviving spouse. If that spouse ever remarries and their assets co-mingle, the children of the deceased spouse could inadvertently lose their inheritance. If the deceased specifically left a home to his or her children, then the surviving spouse could lose his or her home.

It is easy to see how this could all become complicated in a second marriage. Unless careful estate planning is done with a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney, a new couple's assets could be in jeopardy. Anyone in Florida who is considering a second marriage may choose to consult with an estate planning lawyer that can guide the new couple in the best ways to plan for their futures.

Source: forbes.com, "Second Marriage And Estate Planning: 5 Things You May Not Have Considered", Mark Eghrari, June 2, 2017

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