Estate planning can be very tricky for blended families (those with spouses that have children from previous relationships). How do you ensure that you accommodate everyone fairly? How will you avoid estranging anyone? Are you protecting all of your loved ones and doing what’s best for your family?
These are difficult questions to answer, but you shouldn’t have to worry when you work with an experienced estate planning attorney in San Diego. Remember, your job is to prioritize your family and make decisions in everyone’s best interests. With that being said, here are five things you need to consider when estate planning for a blended family:
Consideration #1 – Having Collaborative Discussions Regarding Estate Planning for a Blended Family
We always encourage our clients with blended families to discuss their plans with their loved ones openly. These discussions can be exceedingly productive and help simplify the entire process, but most importantly they are a powerful tool to prevent infighting in the future. You should touch on various topics, such as your long-term goals for the family, a general intended disposition of your estate, and who you will name for various roles in your estate plan for a blended family.
Consideration #2 – Protecting Your Beneficiaries Through Estate Planning for a Blended Family
As part of estate planning for a blended family, you have to determine who you want to receive your property and how they’ll receive it. When it comes to children from a previous marriage, this can be a complicated task. You want to ensure that you leave behind a proper inheritance for everyone, including your new spouse. However, can you take care of your children from a previous marriage?
The good news is that you have several options that allow you to provide for all of your loved ones through the goals you have for your estate plan. Strategies have developed to ensure a surviving spouse has access to needed funds while safeguarding them for children later, all while doing so in a tax advantaged way. This is an area that does not yet have a perfect solution for everyone, so it’s important to work through how your plan is structured with an attorney to make sure the plan you decide on is best for your family.
Consideration #3 – Later Marriages
There are several estate planning questions you should answer when estate planning for a blended family. For example, remarriage carries many unique circumstances in terms of how you plan your estate. For an aging person, remarrying can be very fulfilling and beneficial, especially with life expectancy rates on the rise. However, marital laws will undoubtedly affect how you divide your assets, and you should be proactive about dealing with this in your estate plan.
You should discuss the matter with your new spouse. Tell them about your intention to take care of your children from a previous marriage. You could create a great deal of confusion for your loved ones if you’re not upfront about what you believe is best for everyone.
Consideration #4 – Setting Up a Trust as Part of Your Estate Planning for Blended Families
Establishing a trust will allow you to set aside property and assets for your loved ones to inherit in a protected manner. This way, you’re able to provide financial security for all of your children without neglecting your current spouse. The assets within a trust are not subject to probate, and ownership will transfer easily after you pass away.
You also get to select the trustee, which is the person who oversees the assets. Some strategy can be used here to ensure that your estate is divided among your beneficiaries according to your instructions. In most cases, a spouse or close family member is chosen for this role, or in some cases multiple parties are appointed to serve together. Our trust attorneys can help you to determine which trust is best for you based on your need.
Consideration #5 – Hiring an Attorney You Can Trust
At Jenkins & Jenkins in San Diego, we provide expert legal services for families in California planning their estates. We can help in numerous ways, including estate management strategies that help minimize family conflicts. Schedule a free consultation with us today, and we will help you craft a plan that accommodates all of your needs.
Testimonial from Komal, Satisfied Estate Planning Client
We have been putting this off for a long time and have been skeptical about the whole process, but we are so glad to complete our Trust documents with Jenkins & Jenkins. It has been a gratifying experience working with Michael Jenkins and Caroline Jenkins as they worked on our Trust, health directives, wills, and power of attorney, the experience has been great and not only made the process easy but also, I now understand and learned a lot during the process, and they are our trust go to people for life. They are professional, and they made the experience easy, fast, and well worth it.