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Estate planning tips for blended families

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2018 | Firm News

Whether you have lost your former spouse to death or divorce, remarrying often brings hope and happiness into your life again. Of course, it comes with its own challenges, especially when you each have your own children from previous relationships, but it is possible to work problems out with time and effort.

Do not let your marital bliss make you forget an important step in blending families: updating your estate plans. Remarriage presents complexities in asset distribution, so it is best to make things clear now through proper estate planning.

Tips for choosing beneficiaries

You may not know how to choose your beneficiaries out of such a large pool of people. It takes thoughtful planning to find a solution that provides security for a surviving spouse and your children to prevent family battles once you are gone. Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine who should get an inheritance and how much:

  • How old are your children and the children of your new spouse? Do they require financial support?
  • Do you have any children together?
  • Do you have to pay child support or spousal support for your former marriage?
  • How are the relationships between your two families?
  • Which assets are marital and which are separate?
  • What will the tax implications be for beneficiaries?

Make sure the beneficiaries you name in wills and trusts match the designations on asset accounts.

Other considerations for blended families

You also have to consider how well you trust your new spouse in matters of controlling the estate and making end-of-life care decisions for you. With minor or special needs children, you need to establish guardianships for their well-being.

A prenuptial agreement can help you distinguish community and separate property, but it does not replace an estate plan. Creating both can be beneficial in making comprehensive, clear instructions for your estate when you pass on.