Are you contemplating remarriage? Did you know that statistics tell us that for 55-year-olds, and older, the remarriage rate has grown from 24 percent in 1960 to 57 percent in 2013? This is more than any other age group and the trend is continuing. Do you find that during your lifetime you have experienced marriages, births, divorces, deaths, and separations? All of these important events play an important role in your daily life, but have you thought about these events in the context of your Wisconsin estate planning? 

The desire to marry again is exciting, however, you should carefully plan for it. As you think about your future nuptials, have you thought about how your marriage will impact your estate plan, including your planning for your adult children? You should be aware that your age group has more assets coming into a remarriage. So, you want to be sure that the assets from your first, or earlier, marriage are available to your adult children when the time comes that you are no longer here.

We would like to share some thoughts for you to consider when it comes to protecting your adult children in your second marriage.

  1. You need to think about your existing asset structure and protect it. When anyone remarries later in life, there are usually more assets to consider planning for. These assets may range from homes, vehicles, and personal tangible goods, to retirement accounts, savings, life insurance policies, and brokerage accounts. It is only natural that you will want to ensure the adult children of your first marriage are the recipients of these assets. When you work with your experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney he will be able to show you careful planning considerations for your estate plan and may even recommend a prenuptial agreement. This agreement can lay a foundation for understanding your goals for your previously owned assets at the time you entered into your marriage, and protect your existing adult children.
  1. You need to carefully plan for both your new spouse and your adult children. When you create a Wisconsin estate plan you are developing a legacy. Even with a prenuptial agreement, there is no reason that you cannot plan for both your new spouse and your adult children. Your Wisconsin estate planning attorney will discuss with you how to create a last will and testament or trust agreement that details the distribution of specific assets you want your new spouse or your adult children to receive.
  1. You need to understand the laws of the state of Wisconsin. Be aware that the state rules of Wisconsin will apply as well. Upon your passing, your spouse must receive his or her elective share unless you plan around this in advance in your prenuptial agreement. If your primary goal is to provide for your adult children from a previous marriage you will want to work closely with your Wisconsin estate planning attorney.
  1. You need, and it is highly recommended, to have open communication about your goals. Often our clients want to keep their goals for their legacy private for as long as possible, however, open communication in this area can be so important to avoiding future legal challenges. We encourage to discuss your goals with your new spouse as well as your adult children. Consider including them in your meetings with your Wisconsin estate planning attorney so everyone knows, and has time to both adjust and respect your wishes.

We know this article raises more questions than it answers. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today.