Monday, May 30, 2016

Second Marriages and Estate Planning

Not every marriage works out.  Duh.  Sometimes, after one ends, another marriage begins and several challenges begin.  You have the challenges of "mixing" families together, learning about snoring patterns, and discovering a new person.  You also frequently have the challenge of dealing with estate planning.  I'll skip the issues with snoring and focus on some of the estate planning points.

If you are smart...and brave...bring up the subject of a premarital agreement (or a "prenup" if you prefer).  Just don't wait until you are on the way to the ceremony.  Not exactly a romantic subject and many people will steer clear of it because of the delicateness of the topic.  ("You think we are going to get divorced!?!")  The premarital agreement can provide protection for each other, not only in the event of a divorce, but also upon the death of one of you.  Remember: you can't disinherit your spouse as part of your will or trust estate plan after you are married.

Frequently, second-marriage families don't do a premarital agreement.  Maybe they didn't have much in assets when they got married or maybe they just didn't think about it when love is in the air.  "Post marital" agreements are not valid in Iowa so you won't be able to visit this topic down the road once you are hitched.  So now what?

We now have another option under the Iowa Code:  The "Post Nuptial Trust". 

Let's say you (1) you have a second marriage situation; (2) you don't have a premarital agreement; and (3) you have some property that you want to make sure it goes to your children (e.g., you inherited the family farm).  With proper...and careful...planning by a knowledgeable trusts and estates attorney, we can legally draft documents to allow you to transfer that property to your children without the concern of the spousal share election "re-routing" where that property ends up after your demise.


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