Do You Have a Blended Family? What You Need to Know About Estate Planning

big-familyA blended family, where both parents have children from prior relationships and combine to live together as a new family, is becoming more common. The Pew Research Center estimates that 16% of children are part of a blended family. Six out of 10 women’s remarriages create blended families, and such a unique family can pose concerns in estate planning.

If you are a parent in a blended family, you understand the challenges of creating a plan that accurately reflects what you and your partner desire. Consider the scenario of creating a will leaving everything to your spouse. How will you know that your spouse will leave something to your children? In this scenario, without making your wishes clear, your spouse could inherit all your assets and pass them on to his or her children, leaving your children out of the will.

There are options, however. You can ensure your wishes will be honored, and you can provide for both your spouse and your children. If you create a trust, you can leave your assets to your spouse for his or her lifetime and then have the rest pass on to the children. For this option, you should consult with an attorney at Bratton Law to help you in creating a plan that best fits your needs.

You also need to consider the fact that after you are gone, your spouse could remarry, and if you only have a will, you will not be able to control what happens to your assets. A trust will protect your assets in such a situation.

One of the other ways to provide for your children and spouse upon your death, in addition to creating a trust, is a life insurance policy. You choose a beneficiary, and that individual receives the proceeds directly instead of through a will. This choice can allow you to make your children beneficiaries through one policy and your spouse through another, which is a more straightforward way to make sure that you provide for your family upon your death.

You will also want to consider who you would like to make decisions for you if you should become unable to do so, such as in a terminal illness. You will want to carefully consider whether you would like your spouse or your children to be able to make decisions.

Everyone needs to create an estate plan, but in a blended family, it is worth considering how to make sure your assets are divided and distributed to those important to you. Not creating a plan means you won’t be able to make sure that your legacy passes to those you want it to after you are gone. Call the Bratton Law Group and get started on creating the estate plan that reflects your vision for the future.