Estate Planning for Blended Families

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Whether it’s after a divorce or the loss of a spouse, when people remarry and create blended families, estate planning can get complicated. Professional estate planners agree that a basic Last Will & Testament that leaves everything to a surviving second spouse is not enough to protect children from a previous marriage.

What types of issues can arise? Biological children may have to wait for their inheritance until after the death of their parent’s second spouse. Or, a surviving second spouse may decide to change their own Will and leave all assets to their biological children while your kids get nothing. Then there’s “The Spendthrift Spouse” who leaves few if any assets for anyone. All of these scenarios are more common than you imagine.

How To Protect Yours, Mine & Ours

First, don’t put off discussing your estate with all the members of your family. Depending on your personal situation, there are various strategies to help ensure children and stepchildren are treated fairly.

There are different types of trusts you can consider. Or, you can provide for biological children by specifying all assets be divided upon your death. Life insurance may provide another way to provide some inheritance for your spouse, children and stepchildren.

It’s also important to review all of your beneficiary designations to make sure your ex-spouse has been removed from any life insurance policies or retirement accounts. Many an ex-spouse has inherited a forgotten 401k from a previous job.

You don’t have to tackle estate planning for your blended family alone. Consider working with a FRC℠ certified professional who fully understands your federal benefits.