In today’s world, many people go on to remarry after divorce or separation, and there are often children involved. There are more so-called “blended families” than ever before, and this can present some unique challenges when it comes to estate planning. If you are thinking about starting your own estate planning process, and wish to provide for children from a previous marriage, or for your new partner’s children, it’s a good idea to reach out to a qualified attorney. Because the default laws in most areas (called “intestate” laws) don’t generally cover these kinds of situations, it’s up to you to explicitly include your loved ones in your wills and trusts.
Blended families will have to clear a few more hurdles than others may have to. Some of the challenges for blended family estate planning include:
- Potential for children to be disinherited
- Need to protect assets from former spouses
- Delays in children’s inheritance (usually until after the death of their parent’s spouse)
- Disputes over division of responsibility and authority
Because this type of estate planning involves multiple parties, this is not something you should wait on. The chances for a costly and stressful dispute are higher with blended families, so make sure you talk to an experienced Greensboro estate planning attorney soon. There are many legal strategies that you can use, to protect your interests and watch out for your loved ones, including:
- Premarital or marital agreements
- Spendthrift and spray/sprinkling trusts
- Life insurance trusts
- Bloodline trusts
- Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) or LLCs
- Life estates
- Many more!
Joining families should be a happy occasion, not one for stressing about the future. Depending on your unique situation, you could outline your wishes for everything from your own healthcare decisions, to how your money is distributed upon your death. Having a comprehensive estate plan, that is tailored to meet the needs of your blended family, will give you and your dependents valuable peace of mind.
Providing for your own biological children, your adopted children, or your new spouse’s children can be complex. Additionally, if you have any financial or legal obligations to an ex-spouse, this can further complicate matters. However, a qualified estate planning attorney can help you make sense of everything, and put in writing exactly what you desire.
If you want to learn more about the unique legal challenges of blended families, and how estate planning can help you, reach out to us at the law office of E.J. Boswell. Ask for your free consultation to get started.