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Estate Planning for Blended Families

Sep 25 | 2023  by

While estate planning for blended families is not intrinsically difficult. It’s difficult to plan when each spouse wants to provide for the other and their biological children after death.

Here are some tips on estate planning for blended families.

Estate Planning for Blended Families

If you didn’t know, a Blended Family refers to married couples with children from previous marriages or relationships. Blended families can include families with stepchildren or half-siblings, extended family members who live in the same home, and more. 

These family structures are becoming more and more common today, with over 16% of U.S. children living in a blended family.

Update Documents Related to Your Estate

Beneficiaries override Wills and Trusts. Check your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, property titles, and any other assets. Always make sure that your estate planning documents are up-to-date!

Pre-Nuptial Agreement

A pre-nuptial agreement preserves and distributes assets accumulated prior to the new marriage in a designated manner. These can spell out who will be responsible for which expenses after a marriage.

They can also declare where each spouse’s assets will go after death or divorce. Your pre-nuptial agreement might put a limit on what will go to your new spouse. Such a provision may protect some of your assets, for yourself and for children from a prior marriage.

Irrevocable Trust

Set up a trust for your blended family. Here you will designate all of your children as beneficiaries of your assets. Choose a sophisticated neutral trustee who will look out for everyone after you are gone.

However, instead of giving all rights to the surviving spouse to modify the trust, you may make the trust irrevocable upon the first spouse’s death. When the first spouse dies, the trust remains exactly as it was when you were both alive. Amending the trust may require the approval of all children or court involvement.

Estate Planning Attorneys | Fausone & Grysko, PLC

Estate planning for blended families is much different from traditional families. The main difference is the number of factors to consider within the blended family. Choosing guardians, designating beneficiaries, and dividing assets can be tricky for those who want to be fair to everyone in the family, perhaps more so when there is an age gap between the children.

In whole, estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project. An experienced attorney can outline your options and guide you through the process, so choose the best one for your family. The experienced team at Fausone & Grysko, PLC always have your estate’s best interests in mind. Contact Attorney Denise Medina today by phone at (248) 912-3220 or by email at dmedina@thefgfirm.law.