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Estate Planning for Second Marriages

As a Folsom lawyer specializing in estate planning, many of my clients are seeking estate guidance following a second marriage. Estate planning for second marriages can be more complex than for first marriages because there may be additional considerations, such as children from previous marriages and potentially more diverse financial assets. Here are some key estate planning considerations for individuals in second marriages:

  1. Open and Honest Communication: Start by having open and honest conversations with your spouse about your individual and shared financial goals, your wishes for your respective children, and your estate planning objectives. Understanding each other’s priorities is crucial.
  2. Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement: Consider a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to clarify the division of assets in the event of divorce or death. These agreements can help protect assets for children from previous marriages. If you are interested in a pre or postnuptial agreement, it is important to seek the guidance of a respected family law attorney in addition to the estate planning lawyer. 
  3. Beneficiary Designations: Review and update beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets. Ensure that they align with your current wishes, especially if you want to provide for children from previous marriages.
  4. Wills and Living Trusts: Create or update your will and consider using living trusts to specify how your assets should be distributed. Trusts can be particularly useful for blended families to ensure that assets are allocated according to your wishes, such as providing for a surviving spouse while preserving assets for children. Furthermore, the trust takes effect during your lifetime, whereas a will only takes effect upon passing.
  5. Naming an Executor or Trustee: Select an executor for your will or a trustee for your trust who is impartial and can act in the best interests of all beneficiaries, including those from previous marriages.
  6. Power of Attorney: Appoint a financial and healthcare power of attorney to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Ensure your spouse is aware of your choices.
  7. Guardianship for Minor Children: If you have minor children from a previous marriage, discuss and establish guardianship arrangements in the event of your passing or your spouse’s passing.
  8. Life Insurance: Consider life insurance policies to provide for your spouse and children from previous marriages. Life insurance can be used to equalize inheritances or provide financial support.
  9. Joint vs. Separate Ownership: Decide whether to hold assets jointly with your spouse or separately. Joint ownership can simplify some aspects of asset transfer but may not align with your estate planning goals.
  10. Blended Family Trust: In some cases, a blended family trust can be established to hold assets for the benefit of the surviving spouse during their lifetime, with provisions for distribution to children upon the surviving spouse’s passing.
  11. Review and Update Regularly: Estate plans should be reviewed and updated periodically, especially after major life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or changes in financial circumstances.


Estate planning for second marriages requires careful consideration of the interests and needs of all family members involved. By taking proactive steps and seeking professional guidance from an experienced Folsom estate planning lawyer, you can create an estate plan that protects your loved ones and ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes. If you have any questions about estate planning for second marriages, please contact Thapar Law at 916-579-0605 or send us a message.

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