Three Estate Planning Steps To Protect Your Blended Family

Law Blog

When you're part of a blended family, it's important that you are proactive about protecting your assets, particularly in the event of your death. In fact, an estate plan may be the best way for you to ensure that those closest to you get the things you want them to have, no matter which part of your family they are in. With some families facing multiple divorces, it's not uncommon for a blended family to cross three households or more. Here are some of the things you need to know about ensuring that you have the proper legal protections in place for your blended family in the event of your death.

Drafting Spousal Agreements

If you haven't yet remarried, now's the time to familiarize yourself with prenuptial agreements. They are important tools for protecting your assets in the event of a divorce or your death, because they provide some legal basis for what should go to your children from your first marriage. 

You may be thinking that it's too late to take this type of step if you're already remarried. If that's the case, it's time to talk to your spouse about a postnuptial agreement that will allow you to detail the distribution of assets if the marriage ends or you pass away.

Establishing a Trustee

Particularly when you have a blended family, it's essential that you have a neutral party manage your estate in the event of your death. If you have any reason to be concerned about the division of property, you'll want to specify someone to take this role. Otherwise, the responsibility may default to your spouse. If you don't want him or her to handle it, you need to make that clear.

Choose someone you can trust to carry out your wishes as you see fit. This eliminates the unnecessary bickering between households about what your children may believe they should have, and it takes the pressure off your current spouse in the event that an ex tries to claim something that they have no legal right to.

Defining Beneficiaries

Work with an estate planning attorney to create a detailed, legally enforceable will that details who your beneficiaries are and what you want them to have. By putting it in writing with the help of an attorney, you can eliminate any risk of your new spouse disinheriting your children by changing the beneficiaries.

This is of particular concern if you're incapacitated before your death and he or she has power of attorney. Consider a clause in your will that requires you to be the one to make any changes with no exceptions. This gives you peace of mind to know that your children (from either marriage) will get what you intend them to have.

For more information about drafting a will, contact a company like Linn Schisel & DeMarco Attorneys At Law.


2 July 2015

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