Estate Planning for Newly Blended Families

What unique estate planning considerations exist for remarried couples?

Roughly a quarter of all marriages in the U.S. today are remarriages, according to the Pew Research Center.  With divorce rates remaining high on a national level, it makes sense that more people will give love and marriage another chance at some point in their lives.  Second marriages can present a wonderful opportunity to enter into a new and loving union, but they may also come with some complications. Couples may enter a second marriage with children from previous relationships as well as other homes or significant assets.  This makes it important for newly remarried couples to make an estate plan that meets their unique needs so that the entire family is protected.

Determine Your Goals

Parents in blended families will want to ensure their children are taken care of, while also providing for their new spouse. It can be challenging to juggle the financial needs of the entire blended family. To start the process of creating an estate plan that represents your wishes while protecting your family, you will need to sit down and identify your goals.
Make a list of your individual assets and work with your spouse to develop a list of your community assets. Consider whom you would want to receive what under what circumstances. For instance, your desires for your assets may change depending on whether you or your spouse passes away first.  Talk to your spouse about your shared estate planning goals. You will each need an individual will, but can work together to ensure your wills reflect your common desires.

Update Your Beneficiary Designations

Several of your assets require that you designate a beneficiary who you will want to receive the assets should you pass away.  Your insurance policy, retirement assets, and bank accounts may all feature a beneficiary designation. It is easy to forget about these designations, but it is critical that you update your selection after your remarriage.  You will need to contact each agency and change your beneficiary designation to your new spouse or an older child.
For many blended families, trusts offer some advantages over just a will.  With a trust, you can take advantage of tax and probate court savings, while providing for your family without delay.  Contact an estate planning lawyer to get started with creating your comprehensive estate plan today.

Brian Chew, the managing partner of OC Wills & Trust Attorneys, has extensive experience in the areas of estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, long-term care planning, and veterans’ benefits. By devoting his practice to estate planning matters, he has founded a firm that strives to provide exceptional service to their clients by working closely with individuals and their families to create comprehensive and customized estate plans. For the past twenty five years, Brian has served thousands of clients in the matters of estate planning, wills and trusts. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Brian Chew here.