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Blended families and estate planning

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2022 | Estate Planning

Estate planning can be complicated enough when you’re just dealing with one family. But when you have a blended family, essentially mixing two families together after a second marriage, it gets to be very complex. It also increases the odds that your heirs will eventually be involved in an estate dispute.

Naturally, you want everything to go smoothly when you pass away. You want to put your heirs first. Here are some things you should know about estate planning to make that possible.

Your new spouse has no obligation

First and foremost, some people decide to leave all their assets to their new spouse, trusting that that person will then split them between all of the children when they pass away. If you think your spouse will outlive you, you may consider this. But it’s also important to remember that your spouse isn’t obligated to give anything to your biological children. If you leave everything to your spouse, they could just leave it to their own biological children and take your heirs out entirely.

You need more than a will

Another thing to remember is that just writing a will likely won’t go far enough or address all of the things that you want to consider. You may need numerous other documents. For instance, money can be put into trusts to determine who can get it, when they get it and how it can be used. You may also want to make powers of attorney so that it’s very clear who gets to make decisions for you when necessary.

Avoiding estate disputes

A blended family may also run into estate disputes because they are not biologically related and did not grow up with each other. Both sides may feel that the other group of siblings are trying to take as much of the assets as they can for themselves. That’s why creating an estate plan in advance is so important, because you can sometimes stop these disputes from happening in the first place.

In order to accomplish your goals, be sure you take the time to carefully look into all the legal tools at your disposal.