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Paul E. Riffel Tampa Estate Planning Attorney

New Year Estate Planning Tips when it comes to Remarrying


Are you planning to remarry in the New Year? Are you planning your wedding, contacting wedding venues, and notifying family? It is a busy time for you and your future spouse. With all the busyness, though, have you considered how remarriage will impact your Florida estate plan? Typically in a first marriage, the goals of each spouse are usually aligned: take care of the surviving spouse for as long as he or she lives and then divide what is left equally among the children. In addition, if the children are still minors, you set up a trust for the kids until they are adults. This makes sense because most couples jointly own their assets but this is not necessarily the case when dealing with remarriage and estate planning.

Often, in a remarriage or when marrying later in life or after amassing significant wealth, the goals may not be so perfectly aligned, and the former methods for estate planning may not work as well. For instance, if you decide to put your new spouse on the title of your home, it is now considered to be owned jointly with the right of survivorship. That means, when you pass away, the home becomes the property of your spouse, without restriction. But it also means that there may be no guarantee that he or she will pass it along to your children from a prior relationship. Promises can be made, but in the end, they can also be broken. Let us share the following tips with you and your spouse to think about.

1. First tip. Consider working on your estate planning separately, especially if you or your soon-to-be spouse have significant assets. Be sure to make this decision together. You both need to have an honest conversation about your individual estate planning goals. If your goals are sufficiently similar, then you may be able to plan jointly. If they are significantly different, consider having separate attorneys.
2. Second tip. If you have significantly more assets than your spouse, consider using a QTIP trust in remarriage and estate planning. With a QTIP trust, for example, your spouse could continue to live in your home, but upon his or her death, your children and not the children of your spouse would inherit the property.
3. Third tip. You should consider naming a trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance. This trust could allow you to control when and to whom monies are distributed, so that you can provide for your spouse during his or her lifetime, and yet keep control over the proceeds. The trust can also protect your spouse from irresponsible spending, creditors, predators, and even estate taxes.

Contact our office to discuss your options if you will be giving or receiving money or other assets this holiday season and anticipate this may impact your Medicaid eligibility. When your family or financial health is on the line, trust attorney Paul Riffel to help you protect your interests and achieve your goals. Attorney Paul Riffel has been practicing law in Florida for over 41 years, focusing in the areas of Tampa estate planning and family law. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.

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