Estate Planning Should Precede Remarriage

Getting remarried late in life can create inheritance problems without a careful look at your estate plan.

Remarriage late in life without proper estate planning can quickly cause problems with families and estates, according to New Hampshire Magazine in “Navigating Late-Life Remarriage.”

Elder advocates generally consider it a positive event when people find love and comfort late in their lives but it can create problems, the biggest being when people do not take the time to consider what a second marriage might mean for their children’s ability to receive an inheritance. Children from an earlier marriage can be left out of an estate entirely without planning.

Under North Carolina’s elective share law, a surviving spouse is entitled to a portion of their deceased spouse’s estate. The proportion of the estate subject to a surviving spouse’s elective share is determined by the length of marriage. It cannot be assumed that the spouse will make plans to leave anything inherited for stepchildren in his or her estate. There is no legal obligation for the spouse to do so and the law will not give the money to those children if the spouse passes away without an estate plan.

This, of course, does not mean that someone should not get remarried late in life. It just means that some planning needs to take place before doing so.

An estate planning attorney can guide you in creating an estate plan that reduces the chances that remarriage will create problems for your family and estate.

Reference: New Hampshire Magazine (Dec. 2016) “Navigating Late-Life Remarriage.”