Planning In Second Marriages


We all know someone who is in a second marriage and many of us are in a second marriage.  Second marriages can be exciting and fulfilling while at the same time present special planning challenges. A second marriage may include his children, her children, and sometimes our children.  How will the new spouse be provided for in the estate plan?  Can the assets of each spouse be protected for their respective children while still providing for the new spouse? The competing interests are between the children of the first spouse to pass away and the surviving spouse.

Estate planning challenges in second marriages can be solved with a combination of good communication and smart planning.  Creation of a trust is one way to provide for a new spouse after the death of a spouse while preserving the balance of the assets for the deceased spouse’s children.  A couple can also narrow the assets available for a new spouse with a trust by including a provision for a surviving spouse to occupy the residence during the surviving spouse’s lifetime. Upon the death of both spouses the residence is then distributed to the children of the spouse that contributed the residence.  There are many other solutions to planning in second marriages that will provide peace of mind.  An experienced estate planning attorney should be hired to identify the solution that works best for your situation.

Utah law provides a default estate plan applicable to Utah residents in a second marriage with children from a prior marriage who fails to take the time to prepare a customized estate plan.  The default plan is likely not what a person in a second marriage would want or expect.  Generally, Utah’s intestate law provides that the surviving spouse could be entitled to the first $75,000, plus one half of the balance of the deceased spouse’s intestate estate.  The children of the deceased spouse receive the balance of the deceased spouse’s intestate estate.  There are several exceptions in this law so please do not rely upon the summary provided.

JensenBayles, LLP provides a broad spectrum of legal services.  Thomas J. Bayles has been actively providing advice in the areas of trusts, wills, probate and tax planning in the St. George market for over 18 years. Please visit our web site www.jensenbayles.com or call 435-674-9718 and ask for Thomas J. Bayles or Phillip G. Gubler.