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Don't forget to update your estate plan when you remarry

Remarriage is one of those life events that will likely necessitate some changes to your estate plan. You'll probably want to include your new spouse in your plan while ensuring that any children from your previous marriage still receive at least some of the assets that you originally designated to them. Further, you may want to designate your new spouse as your health care and/or financial power of attorney.

Simply by marrying someone, you give that person a considerable share in your assets as well as authority over your estate. Remember that California is a community property state.

If you don't already have a will or other estate planning documents when you remarry, now is the time to draw them up. Unless you designate otherwise, your new spouse can make decisions regarding your estate. This could include denying your children and your former spouse any assets or property you may have promised them. Your spouse would also have the right to make health care and end-of-life decisions for you if you're unable to do so.

If you already have estate planning documents, your attorney can help you make the changes you desire and provide advice and guidance to help ensure that your wishes are carried out. If you don't have an estate plan, he or she can work with you to draft the necessary documents. Many people think that a prenuptial agreement is enough, but it's not.

It's important to be honest with your children about whether or how your new marriage will impact their inheritance. A conversation with your former spouse may also be necessary. If family members know what to expect, there will be less in-fighting after you're gone.

Source: CNBC, "Getting remarried? Protect your assets and your interests," Deborah Nason, July 28, 2016

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