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Estate planning for second and later marriages

Any time that a Philadelphia resident goes through a significant life event, there is a need to revise his or her existing estate plan. This is especially true when a second or subsequent marriage takes place. A new union not only creates new family ties, but it also serves as a reminder that it may be time to update or change previous estate planning measures.

In many cases, a spouse who marries a second time will already have children from a previous marriage. He or she often feels the need to create a plan that will provide for all surviving loved ones. That can be tricky when there is a blended family involved, and it will require careful estate planning measures.

One approach is to place assets into a qualified terminable interest property, or Q-TIP. Then, a life estate can be created for the surviving spouse. He or she will be allowed to live in the property until the time of death, at which point the property will transfer to the adult children. The surviving spouse can also access income created from the assets, but the assets will remain in trust until the spouse passes away, at which point, they will pass down to the children.

This approach represents a compromise of sorts; it allows a spouse to take care of his or her new partner while also providing and protecting an inheritance for the children. This is not only savvy estate planning, it also removes the need to task the surviving spouse with managing the family's assets and creating his or her own estate plan to pass on remaining wealth. That allows loved ones to remain connected without an added layer of stress and potential conflict, which is a positive outcome for any Philadelphia family.

Source:, "Estate planning musts", Irv Blackman, April 20, 2016

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