Planning your estate is not something that you complete with one single action. It is an ongoing process, and every time something significant happens in your life, it will probably affect your estate plan in some way. For this reason it is important to schedule a visit with your estate planning attorney every time one of these life altering events takes place. One such occasion is a change of marital status. When you get divorced you are probably going to want to disinherit your former spouse and change some beneficiaries. And if you should decide to remarry, you are going to have some added things to consider.
There is a certain stigma attached to the prenuptial or premarital agreement in some circles, but when you are mature, established, and remarrying, entering into such an agreement is just an exercise of good common sense. This is especially true if you have a child or children from a previous marriage, and the person that you are marrying should understand this completely. There is a notion that the person being asked to sign the agreement would be offended and question your commitment, but it is almost humorous when you turn the tables and look at it from the other perspective. Why would anyone resist signing the agreement if the marriage has nothing to do with money?
This having been established, you may then want to consider the creation of a Qualified Terminable Interest Trust or what is commonly called a QTIP, in addition to having the prenuptial or premarital agreement. With these vehicles you fund the trust and your new spouse is the beneficiary. If you predecease your spouse, he or she receives all of the income that is derived from the assets in the trust for life. But with the QTIP you name your spouse’s successor when you create the trust. Therefore, after your surviving spouse passes on, your children (or whoever you chose) receive the assets that you placed in the trust.