Life’s path isn’t always straightforward. If you and your spouse have built a blended family, you may have wondered what kind of will or trust you should draw up to plan responsibly for the future. In addition to thinking carefully about what you’d like to leave behind once you pass, you should also consider the needs of your family members. Before you start the estate planning process, review the tips below.
3 Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families
1. Prevent Posthumous Will Modifications
If you and your spouse have drawn up your wills in advance, you may be in perfect agreement about the legacy you will leave behind for your children. However, if you have children from a previous marriage who are included in your will, it’s important to ensure that your wishes for them are carried out. To make sure that your spouse cannot make changes to your will after your death, establish a will or trust that can’t be altered in the future.
2. Avoid Delays in Inheritance Distribution
If you have remarried, you may be advised to make your children remainder beneficiaries (also known as residuary beneficiaries). In this case, your spouse will receive an inheritance after your passing, but your children will have to wait to receive theirs until the spouse dies. This delay could take years, and your children may pursue legal options to earn their inheritance earlier. If you wish to let your children receive their inheritance at the same time as your spouse, make sure they are all equal beneficiaries.
3. Consider Future Guardians
If you have a blended family, establishing the guardianship of your children after your passing will be a major concern. In non-blended situations, it might be easy for you to select a guardian to take over your parental rights, leaving all your children with the same friend or relative. However, in a blended family, there may not be room for all the children in one household, or some children may wish to live with another relative who they are closer to. If you or your spouse have children from a previous marriage as well as children together, it’s crucial to choose and thoroughly vet the best guardians for each of them.
If you’re concerned about managing the estate planning process for your blended family, Monteleon Law Group of White Plains, NY, is happy to guide you. Their trusted attorneys can help you draft a living will to fulfill your wishes and the best interests of your loved ones. In addition to estate planning, they also deal with divorce law, real estate law, and personal injury law. For more information on their practice areas, visit the website, or call (914) 840-2529 to schedule a consultation.