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In second marriages, post-nuptual agreements help secure assets

According to experts, those entering into a second marriage often face many more complications regarding assets and personal property than they did in their first marriage, and the estimated divorce rate for second marriages is approximately 60 percent. This is perhaps why both pre- and post-nuptial agreements are becoming more commonly used today. Estate planning is one financial decision where such agreements can be beneficial.

For instance, if someone who is getting remarried has adult children, those children may feel more entitled to their parent's property in case of death than the second spouse. However, most states have laws that entitle the surviving spouse to approximately one-third of the estate's assets, even if the surviving children are named as beneficiaries in a will.

Financial experts suggest that a "Right to Occupy" clause be stipulated in a will or prenuptial agreement. This clause ensures that a spouse will have a right to still reside in the couple's home but has a list of circumstances where the surviving spouse loses that privilege. The circumstances include death, remarriage, or vacating the property for more than four months. These sorts of agreements are not only beneficial for those who are divorced and entering a second marriage, experts say. Couples who are happily married may draft a post-nuptual document to ensure that their children are the primary beneficiaries of an estate following the death and remarriage of one spouse.

Estate planning can be a complicated issue, and a second marriage can lead property owners unsure what route to take to protect their assets in the event of their death or a divorce. An experienced attorney, in Texas or elsewhere, can discuss options and help decide the best course of action for each individual situation.

Source: Huffington Post, "Estate Planning In A Second Marriage," Ann Margaret Carrozza, March 28, 2013

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