Estate planning for people in any circumstance is essential. But when it comes to blended families, where new spouses and stepchildren are in the equation, it is even more vital to have a will and estate plan in place.
New relationships are in play when dividing assets after someone’s death. If family members do not get along, the deceased’s estate can go into probate as they battle who gets what after someone passes away. In order to avoid this contention and confusion, estate planning is the solution.
When you work on estate planning, there will be no lingering questions after you pass away. When you meet with a lawyer to set up your estate plan, you can allocate your assets to biological children, new spouses, and stepchildren as you desire.
2 Ways to Divide Assets for Blended Families
It can seem tricky to include all of your loved ones into one estate plan and encompass any life changes that may present themselves over time. Here are some ways that you can include all of your loved ones in your estate plan:
· Individual Trusts: When you set up a trust for each individual that you want to have in your will, you can include children from previous marriages or loved ones that may not be prevalent in your life. It is important not to assume that certain people will be taken care of after your death.
· Will: You can list names in your will and what you want to leave them after you die. Individual names are great to include in your will so that you don’t leave your family members guessing where to divide assets after death.
Speak to all family members to let them know what is included in your estate planning so that it isn’t a shock once you pass away. Open communication is always the way to go in these blended family situations. Then they aren’t met with sudden news during a sensitive mourning time in their lives.
Update Your Estate Plan with Each Life Change
Each time you have a death, divorce, marriage, or birth in your family, you should revisit your estate plan. You always want to have the document updated with current loved ones in your life. Therefore, estate planning is an ongoing document throughout your life.
It is not helpful to create your estate plan and leave it untouched for 30 or even 50 years until you die. Instead, take care of your estate plan and keep it updated to include the members of your blended families by calling Miles & Hatcher, LLP. Call to schedule a free consultation: (909) 481-4080.