Second Marriages are on the rise. A Pew Research Survey reports that 40% of new marriages in the country are second marriages for at least one of the spouses. All told, the number of remarried Americans has risen to 42 million people. Triple that of 1960. The increased rate of divorce has obviously played a large role in the increase in second marriages. However, so has longevity. Americans are living longer leaving a larger pool of widows and widowers looking for love.

How does this impact estate planning? Many of the rules and techniques developed over the last century involving estate planning were crafted at a time when the nuclear family dominated the American landscape. As a result, the law generally assumes the goal of every household is to leave everything to the surviving spouse who will, in turn, leave everything the couple’s joint children.

People throwing rice at Bride and grrom

But what if you do not have joint children? Or what if you have separate children? Under the default rules, most everything will go to the surviving spouse. He or she is then free to give it away as they see fit. If he or she does not have an estate plan, the property will ultimately go to the surviving spouse’s children. Unless they remarry, in which case it would go to their new spouse. Proper estate planning is necessary to prevent such unintended consequences.

If you or your spouse are in a second marriage, or contemplating a second marriage, additional steps need to be taken to ensure your estate passes to your intended heirs. Otherwise, the default rules may apply resulting in your estate passing to unintended heirs.

Start by having an honest conversation with your spouse about your estate and who you want your heirs to be should something happen to you. Then contact an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you work through the estate planning process.

Attorney in Plymouth

Do you need an estate plan? Contact Atlas Law, PLC to learn more! Our  Plymouth attorney can help guide you through the estate planning process. Our local lawyer serves Detroit, Ann Arbor, and South Eastern Michigan including Plymouth, Livonia, Northville, Novi, Canton, and Farmington Hills. Contact us today!

We offer free consultations. Call now (248) 773-5555

About the Author: Aaron R. Shahan is an attorney at Atlas Law, PLC. Aaron dedicates his practice to virtually all aspects of estate planning, elder law and probate.