Remarriage and updating an estate plan

In addition to all the other necessary wedding tasks, Georgia residents who are getting married should remember to update their estate plan. This is especially true if it is not their first marriage or if one person has children.

The first step is to update the will, or have a will prepared if one does not already exist. Without a will, the state will decide how assets are distributed, and this could leave out stepchildren or other loved ones. Since beneficiary designations supersede wills, it is also important to update beneficiaries Powers of attorney and health care directives must also be revised. In all of these cases, a long legal battle could ensue if an ex-spouse is listed instead of the current spouse.

If the title of a home says that it is a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship and still lists the ex-spouse, then that home could pass to the former spouse regardless of what the will says. People might want to consider prenups and keeping some property separate from marital property and specify in the will who will inherit that property. A bypass trust can ensure that if a spouse remarries, the children will get the assets.

A person may want to meet with an attorney in order to create or update an estate plan. An estate plan can achieve a number of goals besides simply naming who assets will pass to. For example, a person could set up a trust to pay for a beneficiary's education or for a first home. An attorney may also assist in ensuring that a person's intentions are adequately expressed in the documents.

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