Excerpt from: Huffington Post (click for full article)
Love may be lovelier -- but it is also a whole lot more complicated the second time around.
Record numbers of us will, one day, be in a second marriage. The pool of eligible second marriage candidates is vast as a result of both the high divorce rate and increased longevity.
But before saying "I do" (again), there are a few legal issues that merit consideration.
How should the new spouse be provided for in the estate plan? The competing interests here are typically one's adult children and the new spouse. There is an expectation that assets accumulated in the first marriage will, in some measure, inure to the benefit of the children of that marriage. On the other hand, the new spouse may not have sufficient assets to provide for retirement needs in the event that he or she is widowed.
Historically, the compromise solution was to provide that the estate be held 'in trust' for the lifetime benefit of the surviving spouse. During widowhood, the surviving spouse received income from trust assets. Some trusts also provided for distributions of principal, in the discretion of the trustee. Then, upon the survivor's subsequent death, the trust terminated and all remaining assets reverted to the adult children of the first to die.