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Reasons to update an estate plan after remarriage

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2022 | Estate Planning

Getting remarried is an exciting time in most people’s lives. They want to put the past behind them and focus on their future in Oklahoma. Your mind may not be on estate planning in the slightest, but your new marriage introduces issues that you probably want to take care of before it is too late.

Out-of-date power of attorney documents

If you prepared financial and medical powers of attorney years ago, you likely named your former spouse as your attorney-in-fact. Unless you update those documents now, your ex-spouse will legally assume your decision-making powers should you become incapacitated.

Out-of-date beneficiary designations

Over the years, you probably started one or more retirement accounts, including workplace 401(k)s, and bought a life insurance policy. Once again, you may have named your ex-spouse as your beneficiary. Chances are you want your current spouse to have this privilege, which means you need to update your beneficiary designations.

Stepchildren as heirs

Unless you have written a will or set up trusts that already name your biological children as heirs, they might not automatically inherit everything that you want them to receive. In the absence of an estate plan, probate court will probably transfer many of your primary assets, like your home, to your current spouse. Once that happens, your current spouse could choose to pass that asset to your stepchildren instead of your biological children.

Although you may want to leave some assets to your stepchildren, you can determine the outcome by expressing your wishes clearly with a will that reflects your current circumstances. You may also consider giving gifts to your heirs while you are still alive.