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It’s not uncommon for wealthy individuals in Illinois to remarry following a divorce or the death of a spouse. While remarrying is generally an exciting time full of joy and love, those with substantial assets in the form of trust often wonder how the new marriage will affect that trust. 

Remarriage can have considerable legal implications for your assets and beneficiaries. We’re going to look at how remarriage will affect an Illinois trust, and what you can do. There are some steps that you can take to ensure the safety of your financial assets, but it’s important to work with an experienced estate planning lawyer like Diamond Estate Planning Law, so they don’t cause complications down the road.

Understanding Illinois Trusts

Before digging into how a subsequent marriage can affect a trust, it’s important to understand the basics of trust and how it works in Illinois probate law. 

A trust is a formal legal arrangement that is created by the settlor, which designates a trustee to manage assets in the trust on behalf of the beneficiary. 

Trusts can be established for nearly any reason, such as providing for a child’s education or living expenses following your passing. They are useful for helping to protect assets from being disbursed against the grantor’s wishes and can be a powerful way to provide for loved ones in the event of your death. In Illinois, trusts can even be used specifically for asset protection and tax purposes. 

How Remarriage Impacts An Illinois Trust

When you remarry in Illinois, there are several ways that it can impact the trust that you’ve established. 

The most significant potential for impact is on the distribution of your assets. If a trust was established before the subsequent marriage, and the spouse is not named as a beneficiary, they will not be able to legally receive any of the assets from the trust upon your death. Instead, those assets will be distributed to the various beneficiaries who are listed in the trust.

However, if the trust was established after the remarriage, and the spouse is named as a beneficiary, they will be able to receive benefits or assets from the trust upon your passing. This may or may not align with your wishes, and can have a considerable impact on the distribution of assets from the trust.

Protecting Your Illinois Trust

There are a few things you can do to protect your trust from the changes of a remarriage:

  • First, you can create a prenuptial agreement that outlines explicitly your wishes for how your assets will be distributed upon either divorce or death.
  • Second, make sure that you have updated all beneficiaries to reflect your current wishes for asset distribution. Be sure that nobody is named as a beneficiary whom you do not want to receive assets, and ensure that everyone you want to receive assets is named as a beneficiary.
  • Finally, an advanced method is to create a trust specifically to address the potential impact of remarriage. A qualified terminable interest property trust can help ensure that assets are distributed according to your wishes, while also making arrangements for spousal care. This is one of the most complex types of trust and usually requires dedicated legal help to create.

Let Diamond Estate Planning Law Help Protect Your Illinois Trust

Whether you’re considering your second marriage or your fifth, it’s important to make sure that the legacy you’ve established isn’t altered beyond your wishes. Diamond Estate Planning Law can help you craft ironclad trust documents that ensure your assets are always distributed exactly how you want them to be. Contact us today.

DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes and is only applicable in the state of Illinois.  While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, we urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.

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