Wedding Planning and Estate Planning Go Hand in Hand

Love is in the air, and many couples are anticipating and planning summer weddings. While it may not seem like the most romantic topic, estate planning is an important consideration for couples to discuss, especially if one or both spouses have previous marriages and children from those relationships. 

If a blended family is on the horizon for you, advanced planning can save your family a lot of money, heartache, and misunderstandings, and ensure that your heirs and assets are handled the way that you want them to be. When families can voice their concerns during the planning process, the appropriate instruments can be selected and structured to provide the best asset protection for everyone involved. 

Top Three Estate Planning Questions for Couples 

A married couple must answer three ‘big picture’ questions to properly structure their estate plans. 

  1. To whom and how are the assets to pass at the first spouse’s death? 
  2. To whom and how are the remaining assets to pass at the second (surviving) spouse’s death?
  3. What is the primary estate planning document to be used to carry out the answers to questions 1 & 2, which can be either a Will or a Revocable Living Trust (in conjunction with a pour-over Will)? 

Even couples who are entering first-time marriages can benefit from learning more about the best way to pass assets to a spouse under an estate plan. 

Estate Planning for Blended Families 

People often have questions about how inheritances work or how an estate is split in a blended family situation. In most blended family situations, the married couple with children from previous relationships usually has two priorities: 

  • That their spouse is well taken care of financially at their death (this discussion may include using life insurance to help fill in financial gaps), and 
  • Their children receive all or a portion of their remaining wealth at the second spouse’s death. 

It’s important for each spouse to realize that, when they die, they lose any future control over assets passed outright to the remaining spouse. Therefore, now is the time to ensure that their desired beneficiaries will benefit from any assets that remain at the second spouse’s death. 

One option is to pass assets to the surviving spouse in an irrevocable trust- either one created under the first spouse’s Will or revocable living trust after the first spouse’s death, or one created by the first spouse during that spouse’s lifetime. Using an irrevocable trust for the benefit of the surviving spouse can give the first spouse to die some measure of control over how the assets remaining in the trust pass at the surviving spouse’s death, so that those assets pass to the first spouse’s desired beneficiaries and not, for example, a new spouse if the surviving spouse remarries before dying.  

If you are looking for an Atlanta estate planning attorney who can recommend an appropriate estate planning strategy for your situation, please call us at (678) 720-0750 or e-mail us at to schedule a consultation. We look forward to meeting you. 

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