If your single parent decides he wants to remarry, the attorney may recommend a prenuptial agreement. This legal document can designate who will get what if the marriage fails or if either spouse dies. Also, in most states, a new spouse can receive an “elective share” of his or her spouse’s estate, even if the estate plan leaves everything to someone other than the surviving spouse.

A prenuptial agreement may trump these elective share laws, but it is not automatic. For starters, your parent and the intended new spouse must each have their own legal representation to create and review the agreement. If the parties use only one attorney, either party may cry foul successfully later on.

Alternatively, your parent can elect to leave something to you and any other children from a previous marriage by setting up an irrevocable trust. Your parent can even make provision for the new spouse, by providing income, principal or both. There are many other options to explore, as well.

You can see that there’s a lot to cover! Have your single parent speak to an attorney sooner rather than later.

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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