5 Quick Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families
According to the American Psychological Association, about 40-50% of U.S. married couples divorce, leading to an increase in the amount of Brady-Bunch-like families.
Estate planning for blended families can be complicated. For example, consider a situation where Husband and Wife marry each having two children from a prior marriage. Husband and Wife each have simple wills leaving everything to the surviving spouse and contingent gifts to the four children. Wife predeceases Husband and Husband receives everything under the Wife’s will. Thereafter, Husband grows apart from his step-children. He re-drafts his Will leaving everything to his two children, dis-inheriting his step-children.
In order to diminish the likelihood that your estate plan will be disrupted, consider these 5 tips in your crafting your estate plan:
Unless you want to risk falling into the situation described above, you should probably avoid a Simple Will. Your surviving spouse could dis-inherit your children and your children would have virtually no recourse.
However, if you and your spouse have pre-marital or marital agreement, or another written agreement addressing estate planning, a Simple Will may do the trick.
A Trust created during your lifetime or by Will can adequately serve to protect and effectuate your children’s inheritance while also providing for your spouse.
The death of a family member or loved one is never easy to cope with. The Executor or Trustee you select will play an integral role in the expediency and accuracy of distributing your assets according to your direction. You want to choose someone who you can be confident will follow your directives and uphold their fiduciary duties despite facing the difficulty of grieving your passing.
Making lifetime gifts will ensure that your intentions for disposition are fulfilled, alleviating the need to gift by Will. Lifetime gifts, however, implicate tax concerns that could cost you money. Before making a lifetime gift, make sure your estate plan, as a whole, is established.
Estate planning is a sensitive and vulnerable topic for all. It may be helpful to identify your objectives when deciding whether to discuss your estate plan with your loved ones.
The above are all things to consider in making your estate plan. We understand that making an estate plan is often sensitive and difficult. That’s why we’ve worked hard to put together a team will take the time necessary to meet with you, listen to your concerns, and help identify your goals. Contact our office today to learn how you can get first-class assistance in devising an estate plan that is tailored to you.