There are a lot of life events that can make estate planning more challenging. Amongst them are divorce and remarriage. While you might think that your existing will or the state’s intestacy laws will automatically allow your assets to pass to your loved ones in accordance with your wishes, that probably isn’t the case. This week, let’s look at some of the challenges of estate planning when you’re part of a blended family.
Estate planning and blended families
The tricky thing about estate planning when you’re part of a blended family is that you may want your assets to pass down two separate familial lines. For example, you may want your spouse to inherit some of your assets and your biological children to inherit some as well. While it is true that if you pass away without an estate plan your spouse will inherit half of your estate and your biological children from a previous marriage will inherit the other half, there may be complications down the road.
Suppose, for example, that you don’t want your spouse’s biological children from a previous marriage to inherit your assets. Without an estate plan, they will likely receive a portion of what your spouse inherited after your passing. Those children might end up receiving everything. In other words, your biological children from another marriage could be shut out of the other half of your estate altogether. You might also want to consider that your spouse may remarry at some point after your passing, which could leave your assets falling into the hands of that new husband or wife, as well as the hands of their children.
What should you do?
Everyone’s set of circumstances is unique, which is why we can’t give advise in this post, but you do have many estate planning options at your disposal. One option is to create a trust that allows for your spouse to enjoy certain assets during their lifetime, with the remainder passing to your biological children. What’s important to remember is that you can retain control over your assets for a long time to come, ensuring that the individuals whom you want to take possession are able to use them.
If you’re ready to learn more about what you can do to protect your estate and your loved ones, then consider reaching out to an experienced estate planning professional who can guide you through the process.