What happens to your will when you remarry

What happens to your will when you remarry

New marriages kibosh prior wills, unless a clause states otherwise

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(iStock)

(iStock)

Q: If I remarry, how can I be sure my estate with go to my own children?—Fearful fiancé, Montreal

A: Few people realize that a new marriage automatically kiboshes any prior will, unless the will specifically includes a clause stating that it was made “in contemplation of a future marriage.” Without this clause (or a new or amended will), a spouse is always entitled to a preferential share of your estate, says Toronto estate lawyer Howard Black. But even if your will specifies what happens if you re-marry, your new spouse could still appeal on the basis she is dependent on you. A domestic contract setting out the terms of your relationship and signed by both parties is one way to avoid this. Another is to transfer assets to your kids’ names or into trusts for them. Just don’t take any extreme measures, warns Black. “It sounds better to say, ‘I’d like to preserve assets for my children when I’m gone,’ as opposed to saying,‘I want to keep assets from a spouse.’”

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