New Jersey residents who get married for the second time should be aware of the estate planning and financial issues that can arise. The complications that are created by blended families can easily get out of hand.
If there are commingled assets and incomes in a second marriage, those funds may not be safe from previous creditors. It is important that finances in the second marriage are kept separate if there are joint obligations with a former spouse. Even if the divorce order is explicit as to which party should be held responsible, creditors are not obligated to abide by it.
Trusts can be used as a form of asset protection if one remarries. A trust is a particularly useful estate planning tool for protecting assets that are intended for children from the prior marriage in the event that the owner passes away and does not want the surviving spouse to inherit them. People who remarry should also be aware that second marriages can make inheritance timing complicated. This can be avoided by using a trust to dictate their wishes for their assets. This can prevent children from being unintentionally disinherited when their parent dies before a new spouse and the assets are owned jointly.
An attorney who practices estate planning law can assist remarried clients with ensuring that their assets are treated according to their wishes and that their children receive their inheritances. The attorney may assist with creating the appropriate types of wills, trusts, powers of attorneys and other documents that are applicable for a client's set of family and financial circumstances.