Many people don’t recognize that once they pass away, a surviving partner can do what they wish with any assets remaining, particularly if a will leaves everything to that surviving partner. This can become especially problematic if you’re part of a blended family and have recently remarried but have children from a previous marriage.
This is one of the most common and unfortunate situations in which children from a first marriage may miss out on assets that were intended to them when these assets are divided according to current will language. When it comes to creating an estate plan for blended families, consider the following tips:
- Decide whether or not you wish to make provisions for your children upfront, so everyone receives specific assets and inheritance if you wish
- Determine and name wishes for your spouse and any children from a current or previous marriage in your estate plan
- Think about using a trust, which may allow a surviving spouse to receive the enjoyment and use of assets of property while they’re still alive, while still allowing these assets to pass on to beneficiaries when the surviving spouse passes away.
- Nominate an independent trustee or neutral party to serve as the trustee or executor. This can help to minimize conflict.
- Review your intended power of attorney to verify that any instructions are specific and clear. This may come into play if you become unable to make decisions on your behalf and someone else needs to take care of them for you.
Making sure that you update your estate plan or create one with your family in mind is crucial for safeguarding your wishes with a blended family estate plan.
If you’re part of a blended family, working with our Pasadena estate planning lawyers can help you achieve your goals.