Families are becoming more complex. Sometimes a newly-married couple each have children from previous marriages, and plan to have more. Other couples marry later in life when both have adult children. Legal, financial, and estate planning complications arise with families like these. Estate planning for the blended family is as different as the family itself.
How is estate planning for the blended family different?
If the happy couple have been successful and built a health nest egg, how will it be split when one passes on? Should the couple simply combine all their assets then split them evenly between the kids? Sometimes one spouse is wealthier than the other, which can bring new headaches.
Fortunately, estate planning can help prevent future headaches by providing instructions and guidelines for handling death and incapacity.
Is there any way to prevent future problems with blended families?
Developing an estate plan that meets everyone’s needs requires planning, coordination, and communication. However, it is necessary.
It’s best to work out these details before the wedding takes place. However, if it is too late to sign a prenuptial agreement, talk things over with your attorney as soon as possible. Some estate planning tools are great for dealing with second marriages and blended families. For example, certain types of trust can be formed to preserve the wealth of one spouse for his or her kids, while still providing for the other spouse.
What steps can I take now?
Communicate. First, you and your spouse need to work out your estate plans. You’ll definitely want to change your Will, durable power of attorney, and advanced medical directives. Also, don’t forget to update beneficiary designations for your financial accounts and insurance policies.
Then, let your respective families know the score in a thoughtful, caring way.
Finally, keep those estate plans up to date!
Are you part of a blended family?
We urge you to consult with one of our attorneys as soon as possible. We welcome the opportunity to discuss estate planning options with you. To set up an appointment at Virtus Law, call us at 612.888.1000 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our main office is located in Minneapolis, with other offices located in Maplewood, Cambridge, Edina, Mendota Heights, and Red Wing.