Archive for Second Marriage

Why Do Women Need to Take the Lead in Estate Planning?

Why do women need to take the lead in estate planning?

Women need to lead because it is typically the woman that sits in front of the undertaker given that – statistically speaking — her husband will die first. Thus, she has to deal with the immediate arrangements involving the disposition of her husband’s body and the settlement of his estate. These tasks can be overwhelming – especially when accompanied by the grief process – unless she has taken an active role in the couple’s estate and funeral planning.

Importantly, a woman needs a solid handle on what happens to her financially upon her husband’s death.  What assets remain for her?  How liquid (i.e. accessible) are those assets? What will happen to her standard of living? Should she keep the house or sell it?

The woman’s standard of living likely will be reduced after the death of her spouse because the total value of Social Security payments received by the household will decrease after the husband’s death.

Knowledge empowers. Women typically fare better when they have the control that comes from (1) understanding their personal financial picture; and (2) having an updated estate plan in place.

Given her statistically longer life, a woman likely will need money to cover more retirement years than her husband will need. And, her longer life may mean that her medical needs are greater, too. A Minnesota durable power of attorney will be particularly beneficial for handling certain financial matters as the woman ages and perhaps develops dementia. A Minnesota health care directive will provide assurance that the agents that she names will follow her wishes related to her body when she can no longer communicate for herself.

Done correctly, the estate planning process involves a review of the couple’s assets and includes recommendations as to who should be the owner of each asset, and how beneficiary designations might best be handled. The discussion with an estate planning attorney will also help her understand when probate is and isn’t required in Minnesota.

A Revocable Living Trust may enhance her control. A Revocable Living Trust provides a mechanism for management of the woman’s assets during any periods of her incapacity or periods when she prefers to relinquish control to her successor trustee. A Revocable Living Trust may also make settlement of her estate simpler. Typically, there’s no court involvement with Revocable Living Trusts – before or after death. Probate involves the court.

If a  is involved, and there are children from first marriages, estate planning is especially important to protect some assets for the children of the first of the couple to die.

The best time to prepare an estate plan is now. When you get your affairs in order you can confidently go on with the rest of your life!

©2019 Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This Blog is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, please seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in the state where you live. Wittenburg Law does not expressly or implicitly warrant the accuracy or reliability of any of the Blog’s contents. An attorney-client relationship is not formed by reading this Blog. If you are interested in Wittenburg Law’s representation of you, you must contact Wittenburg Law for a determination of whether your matter is one for which Wittenburg Law is willing and able to accept representation of you.

Bonnie Wittenburg, Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC, 601 Carlson Parkway, Suite 1050, Minnetonka, MN 55305 952-649-9771    bonnie@bwittenburglaw.com   www.bwittenburglaw.com

 

Should You Have a Will or a Trust?

Wooden dice with question marks on it over white background

Whether a Will or a Revocable Living Trust is best for you depends on your goals and situation.

An estate planning lawyer can help you review the pros and cons of each based on your needs and desires.

A Revocable Living Trust is more flexible than a Will, and may help married persons avoid Minnesota’s estate tax. However, a Revocable Living Trust is more expensive to set up, and requires you to proactively assign various assets to your Trust for your Trust to work properly. » Read more..

Second Marriage? No Will?

Minnesotans in a 2nd marriage that fail to sign a Will before death may fall victim to unintended consequences.

Minnesota law applies when there is no Will, and those laws may not be what the parties to the 2nd marriage expected.

For example, spouses often expect to inherit all of their deceased spouse’s assets even when spouses are in a 2nd marriage. That expectation is wrong if the deceased has children from a 1st marriage and the deceased did not create a Will giving everything to the surviving spouse. When there is no Will, but there are children from the deceased’s 1st marriage, Minnesota law states that the surviving spouse is to receive “the first $225,000” plus ½ of the rest. The other assets go to the deceased’s descendants. » Read more..

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Second marriages – particularly when each spouse has kids from a prior marriage – are fraught with complications that heighten the need for careful estate planning.

When there’s been only one marriage, and when all of the children are the children of both parents, a typical scenario in Minnesota is as follows: The parent who dies first transfers all of his or her assets to the surviving parent. When the surviving parent also dies, their children share any assets that remain.

However, parents in 2nd marriages have worries regarding the transfer of their wealth that differ from 1st marriage situations. » Read more..

Will My Step-Children Inherit?

If you want your step-children to inherit, you need to specify that wish in your Minnesota Will or Revocable Living Trust.

If you don’t do so, then only your blood relatives or adopted children will inherit.

Without a Will (and assuming that you have no surviving spouse), your children inherit in equal shares under Minnesota law. No provision is provided for step-children. » Read more..

Benefits of Estate Planning

Let’s admit it: We care about how we are remembered after death, and also about what happens to our lifetime accumulation of financial and other assets.

Thus, it’s foolhardy to think that we can keep putting off estate planning on the premise that death is still a long ways away, or that everything will somehow work out (miraculously) according to our wishes if we do nothing. » Read more..

Is an Estate Plan Necessary?

estate-planThe sentiment – “I don’t care what happens after I die because, after all, I’ll be gone.” – typically doesn’t work well in reality.

Creating a well-thought-out estate plan is really your last gift to your family. Without such a plan, your relatives may be cursing you for the unnecessary mess that you left behind rather than having sufficient time to grieve your death and navigate ways to cope without you. » Read more..

First Marriage: Should You Sign that Pre-Nup?

Pre-nuptial agreements are most commonly used, and probably make the most sense, when the persons contemplating marriage have children from a previous marriage and desire to protect the children’s inheritance. Pre-nups may also have merit when the net worth of the two parties are vastly different, or when one party has business interests that need protecting so that a later divorce doesn’t create havoc for the party’s business partners.

However, for most first marriages, a pre-nup may cause more harm than good. » Read more..

Why You Need an Estate Plan

Consider these consequences if you die in Minnesota without an estate plan: » Read more..