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A second marriage calls for a second look at estate planning

Gone are the days when the American family took on a standard form, and there is no longer a "norm" when it comes to how families are shaped. Many New Jersey residents will marry more than once and may have children from two or more unions. While there is no longer social stigma associated with divorce and remarriage, those who enter into second or subsequent unions should review their estate planning package to ensure that their wishes are properly outlined within.

Many people choose to leave the bulk of their estate to their spouse, which is understandable. This is the person with whom we spend our days, and who presumably loves us and knows us better than anyone else. We assume that our husband or wife will carry out our wishes and will distribute wealth fairly among children from both the current and previous relationships.

In reality, however, things are rarely so simple. In the years following the loss of a spouse, a widow or widower will often remarry. If children are born into that marriage, priorities will shift, which is perfectly natural. It is entirely possible that children from an earlier marriage will be overlooked in favor of younger kids.

In order to prevent this from taking place, individuals who are on their second or subsequent marriage should consider using a trust to pass down wealth. A trust can be structured to provide support for a surviving spouse, with the stipulation that any funds remaining within the trust at the time of that spouse's death will pass down to one's children. In this way, New Jersey residents are able to create an estate planning package that supports all loved ones, even if the future brings unforeseen changes.

Source: meridianstar.com, "Estate planning after a second marriage", Gerry Mitchell, Sept. 27, 2015

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