Finding love again is an exciting time but contemplating remarriage may lead to conflicting thoughts about how best to take care of your new spouse, his or her children and your children. What will happen to your spouse if you are not around? How do you make sure your assets end up with your children? There are many circumstances to plan for in blending families. Read on to see what you should consider .firstname.lastname@example.org
Also known as a “prenuptial agreement”. If you are contemplating remarriage, consider the benefits of having a frank discussion about how you and you partner view the financial aspects of marriage. What assets are you each bringing into the marriage? Does it make sense to combine your income and assets or do you plan to retain separate control of your property? Do you have any obligations in regard to a prior divorce? How do you plan to take care of each other in the event of disability, death or divorce? How will you treat the support and inheritance of your respective or shared children? Although initially there may be negative feelings about having a premarital agreement, working through these questions and having a premarital agreement can lay a solid and secure foundation for your marriage.
If you have are already remarried, consider the benefits of having a frank discussion concerning how you will treat the financial aspects of your marriage going forward. Perhaps one of you is considering leaving a career to raise or have children, or leaving a career to relocate to pursue the other’s career, or one spouse has accumulated debt, or your marriage has stumbled and there are feelings of insecurity with reconciliation. Does it make sense to combine your income and assets or would it be better to retain separate control of your property? How will you treat the support and inheritance of your respective or shared children? How do you plan to take care of each other in the event of disability, death or divorce? Working through financial discussions at any time during a marriage can build security and a strong future for your marriage.
Under this document, you name a trusted individual to act as your agent. Your agent will have the authority to act on your behalf in situations where you are incapacitated either temporarily or permanently. The document will express your preferences in regard to organ donation and life support, which will serve as a guide to the appointed agent. Medical doctors and hospitals will look to the appointed agent to make decisions concerning medical treatment and care. Everyone over the age of 18 should have a current Power of Attorney for Healthcare.
Under this document, you name a trusted individual to act as your agent. Your agent will have the authority to act on your behalf in regard to financial matters. That authority can, but is not always, limited to times when you are unable to take care of your own affairs. Your agent will be able to pay your bills, manage your finances, investments, real estate and other property on your behalf. The powers can be as broad or limited as you are comfortable with. Every adult should consider having a current Power of Attorney for Property.
Plan for the unthinkable! If something happens to you, what will happen to your property? Leaving the distribution of your assets and personal property unplanned can have unintended results and make things more difficult for your already grieving family. Every Will allows you to choose the persons that will benefit from your assets and appoint the person that will handle your estate. These decisions are even more important in the circumstances of blended families.
This document is also often referred to as a “living trust” or a “grantor trust”. Unlike a trust that is created by the terms of a Will, a revocable (living) trust exists at the time it is executed. Such a trust can be created by an individual or a couple. For the trust to work efficiently, assets need to be transferred into the trust during the lifetime of the person(s) creating the trust. If assets are held in trust it may not be necessary to open a probate estate on your death. If you become disabled and your assets are in the trust, the trustee will be able to use those assets to pay for your care and it will not be necessary for the court to appoint a guardian of your estate. The person(s) creating the trust will be able to freely transfer assets in and out of the trust and to sell assets that are in the trust for as long as they are able to manage their own affairs. Because the trust is revocable, the terms of the trust can be amended. There may be other planning benefits to using a trust depending on your particular situation.
An irrevocable trust generally cannot be changed once it is executed. The grantor must relinquish control of the assets. The most common reason to create this type of trust is to hold a life insurance policy. Doing so removes the proceeds of the policy from your taxable estate and allows the proceeds to be managed for the benefit of the surviving spouse and descendants.
You may currently enjoy the company of a pet. What will happen in the event you are unable to care for your pet? Planning for the care of your pet will ensure that this important companion will live out its life with the care and comfort you intended.
Naming beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries of your life insurance, retirement plans, stocks, investments, real estate or any other accounts or property is important. Unspecified designations may have unintended distribution and estate tax consequences, potentially leaving your spouse or your children financially insecure. It is recommended that all designations be carefully considered and planned.
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