Preparing Your Will–Second Marriages
This edition of the Koldin Law Center E-Newsletter is part of a series about the role of an Elder Law Attorney. In this newsletter we continue the discussion about the planning process for preparing your Last Will and Testament.
The Koldin Law Center, P.C. limits its practice to the specific field of Elder Law which includes estate planning and Medicaid law.
All prior newsletters are saved on our website. You can read them by clicking here.
The previous newsletters in this series compared how a general attorney would most likely handle preparing a Will versus how an Elder Law attorney would likely handle the initial client consultation discussion regarding preparing a Will.
Typical Will Consultation with an Elder Law Attorney
In addition to discussing the beneficiaries of your Will, the initial consultation at the Koldin Law Center would typically discuss:
- Options to avoid or minimize the need to Probate the Will
- Discuss if there are any special provisions that need to be included in the estate plan such as for family members with health issues or disability
- Accidentally disinheriting children and grandchildren
- Second Marriage complications
- Explain that a Will does not protect assets in the event of a long term illness and what planning can be done to accomplish protecting your life savings from the costs of long term care such as nursing home care.
In the previous newsletter in this series we discussed how probate avoidance methods can cause you to accidentally fully or partially disinherit family members.
In this newsletter we expand on this topic by showing how lack of careful planning in second marriages can risk one spouse’s side of the family being unintentionally disinherited.
Very often we have second marriage clients come to our office with Joint Assets, Wills and Retirement Accounts that leave everything to each other and then to his/her own respective children. The following example illustrates:
Example 1: John and Sally are married for the second time. John’s Will and IRA leaves everything to Sally, if living, otherwise to John’s 3 children. Sally’s Will and IRA leaves everything to John, if living, otherwise to Sally’s 2 children. John and Sally own a joint savings account with $50,000 and have a joint brokerage account with $250,000.
In the above example, if John dies first, Sally will inherit John’s life savings from his Will, IRA, and Joint accounts. When Sally later dies, her children inherit everything from her Will and IRA. John’s children do not inherit anything.
If Sally dies first, John will inherit Sally’s life savings from her Will, IRA, and Joint accounts. When John later dies, his children inherit everything from his Will and IRA. Sally’s children do not inherit anything.
So, the children of whoever dies first becomes unintentionally disinherited.
Leave to Both Sides of the Family in Both Wills and Both Retirement Accounts
One solution is for John and Sally to leave everything to all the children in both of their Wills. The following example illustrates:
Example 2: John’s Will and IRA leaves everything to Sally, if living, otherwise ½ to John’s 3 children and ½ to Sally’s 2 children. Sally’s Will and IRA leaves everything to John, if living, otherwise ½ to John’s 3 children and ½ to Sally’s 2 children.
In Example 2, it doesn’t matter who dies first. All the children will inherit on the death of the 2nd spouse.
However, Example 2 relies on the surviving spouse never changing his/her Will and IRA beneficiaries.
Risk: Surviving Spouse Can Later Disinherit Deceased Spouse’s Family.
After John’s death, Sally might remarry again. Sally might no longer have a close relationship with John’s children. Sally might decide that she would rather leave everything to her new spouse or to her own children and leave nothing to John’s children.
Use of Trusts
The next edition of the Koldin Law Center E-Newsletter will review the use of Trusts as an option to provide for your spouse and to make sure that your own children do not unintentionally lose their inheritance.
For a complete discussion of Trust planning, see our website by clicking here.
For more information about a Last Will and Testament, please visit our website by clicking here.
At the Koldin Law Center, P.C., located in East Syracuse, New York, we have over 50 years of experience helping individuals plan for immediate crisis and long term care. Our attorneys are available to discuss your estate planning options, including the advantages and disadvantages of Revocable Trusts and Irrevocable Trusts, along with other estate planning considerations including a Will, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Proxy.
When the Koldin Law Center, P.C. handles a Medicaid case, we not only handle the entire application process, but we also review asset protection options with our clients. We review with our clients who are already in a Nursing Home options to protect some or all of their assets beyond merely establishing Medicaid eligibility.
We do not charge a fee for the initial consultation. We welcome your children, family attorney, accountant, and/or financial planner to be present at the initial consultation.
There is something you can do.
Our Attorneys are available to speak to your organization
Our Attorneys speak to groups throughout New York State as a public service. If you would like to arrange for one of our Attorneys to speak to your group, please contact our office.
We appreciate your referrals
We have been told by many clients who are in a crisis that they wish they had known about our firm much sooner. We are proud of the many families we have helped in times of crisis.
We are also proud of the many families we helped avoid financial crisis by doing estate planning in advance.
We all share the responsibility for making our family and friends aware of the planning options available to them.
Your referral to the Koldin Law Center could make a major difference in the lives of your family and friends if they are someday faced with a long term illness.
Remember that the Koldin Law Center offers many services for clients of all ages. Our services range from basic estate planning such as a simple will to complex estate planning including asset preservation planning.
THERE IS NO FEE FOR THE INITIAL CONSULTATION