- People aged 55 to 64 are statistically more likely to remarry than those younger than that.
- 72% of people aged 18 to 34 had remarried in 1960, compared to only 42% in 2013.
- Men are statistically more likely to remarry after being divorced or widowed.
According to Time magazine, the current divorce rate hovers around 40 to 50 percent. Of course, depending on your source, you may find studies that show a higher or lower number. Women who marry when they are young or those who wait until they are older than 45 are most likely to experience a divorce.
This may sound disheartening, but as Atlanta estate planning attorneys, we mention it for a very important reason: People often remarry. Combining two lifestyles can be difficult enough, and combining families can take some strategizing. What we find is that people don’t often consider is how remarriage can affect an estate plan that is already in place.
Think about it. Your estate plan is created for future possibilities, but it is constructed with your current situation in mind. You don’t construct a plan while you are married with plans of divorcing or being widowed.
You put together an estate plan considering your current marriage and you and your spouse’s plans for the end of your lives. Let’s take a look at a few of the issues that may arise with your Atlanta estate plan when you get remarried.
1. Ownership and Expenses
When you get married to someone new, you need to revisit not only your estate plan, but your divorce decree. It’s not unusual for new spouses to put their money together in joint accounts in order to pay mortgages, car payments and more. This may not be a wise idea, depending on how you are tied financially to your ex.
You may want to consider keeping your money separate until you can speak with a financial advisor or an Atlanta estate planning attorney. You don’t want to end up making your new spouse responsible for a debt incurred by your first.
2. Equitable Distribution
Georgia is an equitable distribution state. This means that marital property purchased during the marriage can be divided upon divorce. What you bring into the marriage remains yours if you split up.
If you own property in another state, different rules may apply. You need to plan for this type of distribution if you and your spouse decide to divorce.
3. Your Assets in a New Marriage
People who are most likely to remarry are middle-aged or older. Unfortunately, this also means that they are closer to the end of their lives. If you pass away and your spouse marries someone else, your assets can become commingled in the new marriage.
Part of your estate plan will leave assets to children, either your own or your spouse’s. A trust can protect these assets in the event that your spouse remarries.
4. Your Children’s Inheritance
You need to spell out how and when you want children to inherit assets upon your passing. A trust will outline your wishes and can be as specific as you like. If you don’t take the time to create a trust or will, you could disinherit any children you had with someone else before your current marriage without meaning to.
Remember that if there is no will or trust, your current spouse will get complete say over the division of any assets that are jointly owned.
5. Your Housing Situation
In the event that you pass away before your spouse, will they be able to stay in the home? You need to prepare for these things. Your spouse may be forced to sell the home or it may be left to someone else in the family.
A trust can spell out your wishes for who maintains control of the home after your death or the death of your spouse. Leaving this up to chance may not turn out how you hope.
Our Atlanta Estate Attorneys Are Here to Help
If you already have an estate plan in place, it’s very important that you revisit it after you remarry. The same is true if your new spouse had an estate plan drawn up before the two of you married.
It’s also a good idea to take a closer look at your divorce decree. These things can easily become overwhelming and the legal wording may be confusing. An attorney who specializes in estate planning can look over all your paperwork and provide you with the guidance you need.
People who have not yet created an estate plan can benefit from creating one after their new marriage. An estate plan can protect your assets and make sure that your children from a previous marriage are taken care of in accordance with your wishes.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking only the very wealthy need to plan for their assets after their passing. No matter how much income you have and how many assets you have accumulated, an estate plan will protect what you have built.
If you are interested in taking a closer look at your estate plan or need to create one, reach out to an Atlanta estate planning lawyer at Fouts Law Group. We are here to assist you and your spouse in creating an estate plan that works for your current situation and desires for the future. Call today to schedule an appointment.
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