Beginning a new relationship later in your life can be an exciting development. You’ve learned a great deal from past experience—and you’re ready to begin again from a more mature and responsible position. This means that making decisions in your estate planning will be key to building your new life the way you want. However, if either you or your new partner have children, it can create some complications when it comes to providing for your heirs. There are many things to consider when it comes to drafting an estate plan for a blended family. By talking things over with everyone involved, you can ensure that there are no surprises later.
Considerations For Estate Planning in a Blended Family
When it comes to drafting an estate plan for children in a blended family, here are a few important things to consider:
- All Heirs are Not the Same. It may seem like you must provide for your children and stepchildren in the same way once becoming one big family. However, this is a common misconception. While you may be close with your stepchildren, it’s okay to acknowledge that your relationship with them is not the same as with your own kids. It’s important to protect your children when it comes to crafting your new estate plan and to make sure that everyone is aware of your decisions.
- You’ll Need to Update Both Your Will and Your Beneficiaries. Any time you marry—whether it’s the first time or the third—you’ll need to significantly alter your estate plan. An entirely new set of circumstances, both personal and legal, are at play. While updating your will may seem like a no-brainer, be sure to look over all of your life insurance, bank, and retirement accounts. You will likely want to update your beneficiaries on these accounts as well.
- What Happens If One Partner Passes Away First? When you remarry, you will likely have assets that you bring to the marriage. During the marriage, you will also accumulate mutual marital assets. This distinction becomes important should one partner die before the other. If you don’t properly plan for what will happen to both sets of assets, you may find that the wrong person receives property after the partner’s death—for example, a stepchild instead of a biological child.
- Hiring an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer. It’s essential to hire an experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of estate planning. They’ll make the process run as smoothly as possible.
Estate planning in any family can be a complex process, but it becomes even more complicated when you’re in a blended family. At Miller Estate & Elder Law, we understand these unique challenges. Download our free guide and e-book, Estate Planning for Second Marriages—or give us a call at 256-472-1900—to begin protecting your children and family today.
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