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Reasons to update an estate plan before remarriage

New York residents who are getting married for the second or third time might want to consider creating or updating their estate plan. Without a will, the state will decide what becomes of their assets. People who have children from a previous relationship or an ex-spouse may need to update their estate planning documentation accordingly.

Beneficiary designations override what is placed in a will, so people should also check these designations on insurance policies, retirement accounts and other financial assets. Divorced people may find that they have failed to update beneficiary paperwork and that their former spouse is still listed. People should also check their health care directive and powers of attorney, and they should name a guardian as well if they have not done so already.

Assets that are set up to pass to another owner such as homes that have joint tenancy with rights of survivorship or a similar arrangement might also still be in the name of the former spouse. People may want their new spouse added, or they might want to keep those assets separate. Prenups, waivers and other agreements may address this. People may want to ensure that sentimental property goes to children instead of their new spouse. A bypass trust allows the new spouse to access assets but ultimately passes them down to children.

Estate planning strategies may consist of more than simply passing assets on to people. People might want to put a comprehensive plan in place to protect assets across generations. They may want to discuss the possibility of an educational trust with an attorney or how they might arrange for assets to be distributed to grandchildren.

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