Blended families are common across Arizona. Within these families, children from previous relationships are brought into the familial fold, sometimes with open arms and sometimes with conflict. Regardless of the relationship that forms between these individuals, matters can be complicated, especially as it relates to estate planning. Those who take a basic approach to this process can find that the distribution of their assets can be complicated, which may lead to an outcome that was never intended in the first place. In other words, without competent estate planning, those who are part of a blended family may lose control over their estate and its distribution once they pass away.
One reason is because inline succession isn’t clear-cut. Say, for example, that an individual decides to leave all of his assets to his wife. Once she takes control of that property, she may have no intention of leaving any portion of it to her deceased husband’s children from another marriage. This means that she can disinherit those children and be within her legal right to do so. This may be counter to the husband’s intention of leaving assets to his wife with the understanding that his children would later be provided for.
There are certain estate planning tactics that can be utilized to avoid this type of outcome. By utilizing a trust, an individual can leave assets to his or her spouse with conditions that those assets be distributed to named beneficiaries upon that surviving spouse’s passing. This can also help avoid a situation where a surviving spouse remarries, which could also jeopardize a basic estate plan’s intentions.
This is just one of the bigger issues that can arise when dealing with estate planning within a blended family. Powers of attorney and health care directives, as well as the proper utilization of other trusts, can be critical to ensuring that an estate and loved ones are appropriately cared for upon an individual’s passing. To receive the guidance needed to create one of these thorough and holistic plans, Arizona residents should consider reaching out to a legal professional they trust.