Estate planning blended families can be complicated. If you or your partner already have children from a previous marriage, you may wish to take additional steps to ensure your kids are protected after you pass away. You need to think about what you want your legacy to be, as well as how you can protect and provide for both your spouse and your children.
The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. has extensive experience with estate planning blended families. No matter what your marital situation or your situation with your children, we can assist you in creating an estate plan that makes sense for your situation. Give us a call today to find out more.
How is Estate Planning Blended Families Different?
USA Today reports an increase in the number of blended families has made estate planning more difficult and has resulted in more disputes among family members.
With blended families, each spouse may want to ensure his or her children from a prior marriage are cared for. There may be conflicts or concerns over how a couple’s marital assets should be divided as each spouse makes a will and as the couple engages in estate planning together.
One spouse may fear that if he dies first, his surviving husband or wife will not leave anything to children from outside of the relationship. This can raise complicated questions about whether to leave money to a spouse, and how much to leave to a spouse versus children from a prior marriage. There may also be concerns about an inheritance given to a child ending up in the hands of an ex with whom there are bad feelings.
What Should You Include in Your Estate Plan for Blended Families?
There are a wide variety of different options which can be used for estate planning blended families in order to make sure everyone is protected. For example, trusts and the use of direct provider payments such as paying tuition could be options for making sure children from a first marriage are provided for without putting the inheritance under control of an ex.
These tools can also help to ensure that your current spouse does not end up cutting your children off from an inheritance if you pass away first. You can use trusts to have more control, allowing your spouse to use assets during his or her life but ensuring your kids from a prior marriage are able to inherit, even if you pass away first.
The use of separate assets to fund an inheritance for children from prior relationships, or the use of other tools like life insurance policies, can also help to ensure that there is enough money provided to everyone’s kids without taking away from shared family funds.
In addition to making sure children from prior marriages are cared for no matter what, you may also need to address concerns that your will could be contested after you pass away. If all parts of the blended family do not get along very well, this conflict increases the chances of problems with an estate after death. For example, children from a first marriage could argue that your new romantic partner used coercion to get you to leave them the bulk of your estate under duress. This argument could be put forth as grounds not to enforce your will.
You should talk with a Worcester estate planning lawyer about ways to reduce the chance your intentions will be challenged after your death. Sometimes, including a no contest clause in the will is a viable option. You can also try to arrange the transfer of assets outside of probate to makes sure your wishes are clear and not as likely to be subject to an effective challenge.
How Can a Worcester Estate Planning Lawyer Help You?
The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. understands unique issues which arise in estate planning blended families. We will work with you to discuss your goals for providing for your loved ones and will assist you in making effective use of legal tools that can allow for you to address your complicated family situation.
To learn more about the estate planning process, you can join us for a free seminar. You can also get personalized advice on estate planning specific to your family situation by getting in touch with a member of our legal team. Give us a call at 866-370-3888 or contact us online to find out more about the ways in which we can help you.
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