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Second Marriages & Estate Planning 

Redding Law Office Dec. 29, 2022

Weddings always require a great deal of preparation. From the invitations to the cake, everything has to be perfect. However, it can be easy to overlook other critical preparations, such as an estate plan. Estate planning is critical, particularly when entering a second marriage.   

If you are curious how estate planning can come into play during your second marriage, contact the Redding Law Office for legal direction when dealing with estate planning and second marriages. Attorney Chelsea Redding has everything necessary to direct you toward the correct path. The Redding Law Office proudly serves clients in Southlake, Tarrant County, and Denton County, as well as the surrounding cities of Flower Mound, Keller, and Colleyville, Texas. 

The Rights of a Surviving Spouse in Texas 

In the state of Texas, the surviving spouse inherits all community property.   

Please note that community property refers to all joint property acquired throughout the marriage. This property includes real estate, cash, bank accounts, vehicles, and other valuables. However, the separate personal property does not automatically pass on to the surviving spouse.   

Separate personal property refers to property that was not acquired within the marriage. For instance, the deceased spouse inherited property from their parents. In this situation, this property is not part of community property and falls under traditional inheritance laws.    

Additionally, having a will or trust in place determines who gets what when a person dies. If a person dies intestate (without a will), Texas law distributes property among remaining descendants, leaving the surviving spouse first in line. 

Considerations of Estate Planning in a Second Marriage in Texas 

When planning one’s estate in a second marriage, it is crucial to consider the following elements: 

  • Prenuptial agreement. A “prenup” is a good idea, especially when spouses have separate property. Also, a prenup determines what property may become community property during the marriage. Additional clauses and considerations may be included in the prenup, such as long-term care and debt management. 

  • Inheritance of the children. Estate planning in a second marriage must involve the inheritance of the children. This consideration includes children from a previous marriage and children resulting from the second marriage. For example, placing specific assets in a trust ensures children get their share of the inheritance. 

  • Trusts to protect assets. Some folks prefer to place their assets in a trust before entering a second marriage. Once in a trust, the owner no longer has rights over the property. That property now belongs to the trust. Trusts protect assets in case of death or divorce, as the surviving spouse has no claim over the assets in the trust unless the spouse is the named beneficiary. 

  • Beneficiaries. Wills, trusts, and insurance name beneficiaries directly. As a result, only the named beneficiaries may claim the property. This strategy works well to ensure everyone gets their fair share of the assets, such as children from a previous marriage. 

  • Long-term care costs. Illness and long-term care are key considerations when entering a second marriage. For example, placing cash in a trust can help finance long-term care costs. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Estate Planning in a Second Marriage 

Here are the most common mistakes to avoid in estate planning in a second marriage. 

  • Having no plan. The worst thing folks can do is have no plan. An estate plan avoids conflict among surviving beneficiaries, including costly litigation. Dying intestate can become an extremely complex situation for beneficiaries in a second marriage. 

  • Not updating a will or trust. Reviewing and updating wills and trusts before entering a second marriage is a good idea. Doing so ensures all affairs are in order. 

  • Not talking with the new spouse. While discussing property and asset distribution may be an uncomfortable conversation, it is a necessary one. Not talking about financial matters before a second marriage can lead to issues down the road. 

  • Ignoring children from a previous marriage. Children from a previous marriage have as many rights as children from a second marriage. As a result, ignoring children from a previous marriage can lead to legal challenges down the road.  

Seeking the counsel of a practiced estate planning attorney is critical in estate planning in a second marriage. A wise estate attorney can help folks plan their estate to avoid costly mistakes and leaving loved ones unprotected. 

Finding the Right Estate Planning Attorney in Texas 

At the Redding Law Office, Attorney Chelsea Redding strives to help her clients protect their loved ones. Putting a carefully crafted estate plan in place helps protect loved ones during the most challenging times in life.  

Call today to speak with a trusted estate planning attorney. Attorney Chelsea Redding is standing by to help you protect your loved ones. She proudly serves clients in Southlake, Tarrant County, and Denton County, as well as the surrounding cities of Flower Mound, Keller, and Colleyville, Texas.