Estate Planning Considerations for Blended Families
Blended families present a broad number of complications, and finances are just part of the issue. It can get even trickier when it comes time to make your final end of life plans. You may have children from previous and current marriage as well as stepchildren you wish to provide for. While you certainly want to provide for your new spouse, there may be several reasons to provide for a prior spouse as well.
Estate planning when you’re dealing with multiple families can be tricky at best. Here are some topics to consider when estate planning for blended families, and how a qualified estate planning lawyer can guide you through the process.
Estate Planning for Blended Families
There are a number of complications that arise when dealing with estate planning for blended families. They begin with the idea of simply broaching the topic. Your new spouse might be hesitant to talk about the issue, or you simply may not want to face the stress and complexities of making inheritance decisions.
There’s no way around the fact that this is a complex process, but it’s also a very necessary one. You need to be sure that your final wishes are going to be followed, that your assets will be properly protected, and a proper estate plan is the only way to do that.
Communication Is Key
The first thing to understand is that communication is an absolutely essential key to the process. Sit down with your spouse and address the concerns and needs you both have about the issue. You might even discover that you both agree on many issues, which can alleviate some of the stress from the process. If, however, you have different ideas, you’ll want to work it out in advance, while you’re healthy and can make those hard choices with a sound mind.
It’s not just your spouse you want to talk to, however. Talk with your children, particularly if they’re going to inherit less than they might expect so that there are no surprises when you pass on.
Making a Plan
After you’ve spoken with everyone involved, it’s time to make the plan. Will you leave everything to your spouse? To your children? Divided amongst the parties? Do you want some control to be maintained to keep the parties involved responsible? If so, you may consider a trust as opposed to a direct passing of assets.
Review any prior planning documents you had, including the designated beneficiaries listed in those documents. You want to be certain that no assets are accidentally passed to the wrong person, or that there aren’t discrepancies that people can use, or cause, to fight their inheritance in court.
Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer
The right estate plan can avoid a great deal of conflict while ensuring that your final wishes are carried out as you intend. However, there are a lot of issues that can arise when dealing with estate planning for blended families, and you want to be sure that everything is done properly. That means working with a qualified estate planning attorney. If you’re in Montana contact the estate planning lawyers at Tanko Law for help today.