Estate Planning & Your Blended Family

As the divorce rate rises in America, blended families are becoming the new norm. While this brings many benefits, especially for children, it can also bring many legal obstacles. How will your estate plan be organized? Who will get what property? Will your spouse take care of your children in the event of an emergency?

It is crucial that you think through all of these questions and work towards creating a comprehensive estate plan that address each necessary area.

Plan Ahead for Property Division

Blended families will require an estate plan that fits their specific familial situation and needs. Stepparents may bring significant property and assets to the relationship, which may come in part from their prior marriage. While this may seem intimidating, it will be in the best interest of your family and loved ones if these details are worked out in a comprehensive estate plan.

In order to create an estate plan for a blended family, follow these steps:

  1. Determine what type of estate plan you would like to set up as a family
  2. Discuss how individual and shared assets should be divided
  3. Make beneficiary decisions on retirement accounts and insurance policies
  4. Determine what items, assets, and property will go to each child/member in the family
  5. Consult with an attorney to develop an estate plan for these goals

Taking an inventory of assets is important. This can also help eliminate stress or tension over asset division in the future. Some spouses may choose to create identical wills that take care of beneficiaries in the same way, while others make more specific wills for their heirs.

Are you concerned about your family's estate plan?

If division of property is a concern, it may be beneficial to consider using a trust. Trusts can include rules and stipulations that can be used to ensure all children or heirs receive a fair inheritance. Prenuptial agreements may also be an effective tool for couples that remarry with children. These agreements can work cohesively with wills and trusts.

Some additional issues that blended families may face can include issues with joint accounts and powers of attorney, especially if documents have not been updated. If you recently got remarried, it is important that you review any joint accounts or legal documents from previous relationships to ensure all paperwork is up to date.

If you want to create a new estate plan for your blended family, consult an estate planning attorney from our firm today.

Categories: Estate Planning