People who are in a second marriage may need to update several aspects of their estate planning. One essential consideration involves addressing matters related to the home.
In second marriages, the estate might be left to a new spouse and the testator’s children from a previous marriage.
Consider the following matters involving the home:
- In many second marriages, the spouses hold the home as tenants in common to ensure the children of each spouse’s previous marriage receive a portion of the respective parent’s share.
- Many couples choose to include a clause in the will by which the surviving spouse will be permitted to continue living in the home for a specific period.
- Upon expiration of that clause, the house is typically placed on the market for sale, and the proceeds divided as directed in the will.
- The surviving spouse usually has the first option to buy the home from the deceased spouse’s estate.
Addressing the following matters to avoid disputes between beneficiaries:
- Stipulate who will be responsible for the home’s operating costs during the stipulated period prior to its sale.
- Stipulate how the house’s valuation must be handled if the surviving spouse exercises the option to purchase the real estate.
Although some of these issues might seem unnecessary, taking steps in the estate planning process to avoid disputes between the stepparent and the testator’s children is always a good idea. Ensuring that life insurance provides sufficient coverage for the surviving spouse to buy the home is another consideration that will make things easier for those left behind upon one spouse’s death.