How Do Blended Families Handle Estate Planning?

grandparent and grandchild

Blended families are formed when two people get married after already having children from prior relationships. This kind of family structure is becoming more common in the United States, so it’s no surprise that more people are looking for the most effective ways to make an estate plan that can cover everyone in their expanded family unit. A Woodland Hills trust attorney from our firm can help you if you have any questions.

Why Do Blended Families Need an Estate Plan?

Everyone should have an estate plan, but we think that it’s especially important for anyone who has a blended family. If you die without a will or estate plan, the courts decide where your assets go. Usually, this means that your current spouse will inherit the bulk of your estate.

This could leave your children from an earlier marriage out in the cold. Even if you had plans to pass down assets or anything with sentimental value, those plans do not matter because they were not in writing. The court decides what happens in an often long and expensive process that no one is going to enjoy.

Can I Have Beneficiaries From Multiple Marriages?

When you make an estate plan, you can designate beneficiaries from different marriages. There are ways to make sure that you can leave something to everyone. You can pass down something to your current spouse and the kids you have together, and then you can make sure that your children from your previous marriage also receive something. When it comes to your own assets, it really is up to you what happens to them.

What Kind of Estate Plan Can Benefit Blended Families?

Not all blended families are the same, but there are some types of arrangements that could work out well for many blended families. There are multiple kinds of trusts that could be a good fit, like a family trust. This allows the surviving spouse to control the assets left behind and distribute them to the children when needed.

There is also the marital trust, which can leave everything to your spouse while ensuring that specific assets will be left to your children. This protects the bulk of your marital assets while ensuring that your children can get something even if both spouses have not yet passed away.

It is also important for anyone with minor children to pick out a guardian. Otherwise, the court might decide for you.

Schedule a Consultation With Our Estate Planning Lawyers

When you are ready to make an estate plan of your own, contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman. We have plenty of experience helping clients develop a fair and legally binding estate plan for their blended families, so find out more about what we can do for you.

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