If you are part of a blended family, doing clear estate planning is crucial. You and your spouse will need to ensure that all property you own together, as well as anything you owned separately before the marriage, is properly dispersed based on your wishes once you have passed on. The following are some things to keep in mind when estate planning with a blended family.
Know How the Process Works
Drawing up a will is not a difficult process, but it can be somewhat complicated when you factor in children from both of your prior relationships. You have the option to leave everything to your spouse once you are gone, but that could be problematic. If your spouse then leaves his or her estate to their own children, which will include anything you left behind, your children could be left with nothing if your spouse decides to not include his or her step-children in the will.
There are some ways you can make sure your own children get a proper inheritance based on your wishes. One of the most common ways to do this is through a trust. The deceased spouse can leave the estate in a trust that will come with a specified payment that will help support the living spouse during their lifetime. Then, the trust can be worded so that anything left after the other spouse dies will go to those you specify, meaning you can provide assets to any or all children or other family members in the denominations of your choosing.
Be Clear About Beneficiaries and Inheritances
When you begin planning a will with your spouse, it is an ideal time to think about who the beneficiaries are on all insurance policies, retirement pensions, and any other financial accounts you have. Make sure you have removed a previous spouse from your policies so you don't unknowingly leave your assets to that person. Add anyone on these policies and accounts that you wish to benefit once you pass away.
Doing some estate planning is not always the best way to kick off a new marriage, but it is vital to do so as soon as you can. This will avoid some of the more unpleasant aspects of dividing assets among those left behind. Having everything clearly spelled out will ensure that any arguments or ill feelings will be avoided.
Contact an attorney specializing in estate planning, such as Cormac McEnery, for more information.
Hello, I'm Phillip Kerr and I just love the legal profession and courtroom drama. Have you ever watched judge shows on TV? I know that these shows are not an accurate representation of the courtroom, but there is something you may have noticed. Some individuals come into the courtroom well-dressed, articulate, respectful and with the knowledge and documents necessary to support a case, while others come unprepared, slovenly dressed and appear as if they do not have a care in the world. How you present yourself and the knowledge that you have of the law will have an impact on how you are treated, even if you have legal representation. This blog is designed to assist those who are going to trial in doing just that.