Estate Planning Tips For Blended Families
It is estimated that more than half of U.S. families are remarried or re-coupled.
If you are in this category you should take specific steps to protect your assets and your family.
Most married couples leave their entire estate to their spouse when they die. The issue for blended families is that, long after you're gone, your spouse may decide they don't want to leave anything to your children from a previous marriage or relationship.
To provide for a spouse without leaving out kids, consider a trust. The spouse can use the trust during his or her lifetime. Then, when the spouse passes away, everything in the trust can go to the children of the first spouse. Be sure to choose a neutral trustee though, as the spouse that was left behind and the kids may have conflicting agendas.
Another way to provide for children is to take out a life insurance policy and name the children as beneficiaries.
If nothing is done before a spouse dies in a blended family, then the courts decide what is done with the assets left behind once both spouses are gone.
Before you begin estate planning in these situations, spouses need to agree on a course of action. Good communication is the best foundation for any solid estate plan. Once spouses reach an agreement for how they want to distribute their assets, the rest of the process will be easier to navigate.
Learn more about estate planning for blended families here.