As divorce in later years of life becomes more common, residents of Illinois may want to focus on ensuring that their estate plans are up to date. An estate plan is most beneficial when it is updated regularly and reflects a person’s current wishes.

Common pitfalls from a second marriage in estate planning

There are four common areas in which an individual may not have an appropriately developed estate plan. These include the following:

  • Not updating an estate to reflect the current spouse
  • Not updating an estate to ensure children from a previous marriage are cared for
  • Not updating an estate against asset depletion
  • Not updating an estate precluding the first spouse from the benefits

All of the above pitfalls are from not updating an estate plan. Specifically, the individual will want to ensure that their estate is planned in such a manner that each loved one in the individual’s life is provided for. Failure to update an estate to reflect the new marriage may result in some assets passing directly to the individual’s children, which disinherits that asset from the current spouse. Leaving nothing to chance and explicitly stating that children from the first marriage are cared for via the estate helps ensure that they receive the assets they were intended to. Assets could also be depleted from long-term care for the first spouse or the first spouse being named explicitly as the beneficiary, effectively disinheriting the current spouse from the benefits.

When remarrying, re-evaluating or initially developing an estate plan, seeking guidance from a professional attorney may help ensure that all of your wishes are accounted for. This may also help make sure your current spouse or previous children are not disinherited from an asset that was intended for them. A practiced attorney may help you avoid common mistakes.

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