Second Marriages and Estate Planning

With the number of divorces continuing to rise in the United States, there has been an increase in second marriages. Second marriages and the blended families that often result from them can pose a number of estate planning issues. This is because spouses must provide for their partners, their partner’s children, and children from the previous marriage. If you are marrying later in life and already have substantial assets, this can make the situation even more complex. One of the most difficult challenges will be using those assets to ensure that a surviving spouse is financially secure in his or her lifetime, while preserving a sizable sum for the children from your first marriage.

With a second marriage, spouses should consider how long the second marriage has lasted and the financial situation of each partner. In addition, a great deal of thought should go into what the children from the first marriage will receive if their parent is the first spouse from the new couple to pass away. If there is no prenuptial agreement in the second marriage, it is likely that the surviving spouse will get half of the deceased spouse’s assets, and this may not be what the deceased spouse would have wanted for his or her children from a previous marriage.

While second marriages can present challenges for estate planning, these issues can be resolved if clients are thoughtful and seek the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney.

Bernard Krooks is a New York Elder Law and New York Estate Planning lawyer with offices in White Plains, Fishkill, and New York, New York. To learn more, visit

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