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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Nearly half of all families in the United States are blended, which means that one or both parents in a relationship have children from a previous relationship. If you are a partner or spouse in a blended family, it’s imperative that you approach the estate planning process correctly. Below are a few estate planning tips for blended families.

A standard will isn’t enough

A standard last will and testament generally won’t cut it for a blended family. If you are a partner in a blended family, and you leave everything to your spouse, you create the possibility that he or she will cut out your children when you’re gone. As we discuss below, there are estate planning options available that can prevent this issue.

Consider a trust

As opposed to a will, a trust can help ensure the financial security of your spouse and children. One available option that will provide security for everyone is to create a trust that leaves assets to your spouse for his or her lifetime, with the balance passing to your children upon your spouse’s death. This helps to ensure that your spouse has access to the funds he or she needs during life and that your children are cared for when he or she passes.

Choose the right trustee

If you create a trust, be sure to choose an experienced and knowledgeable trustee. A trustee administers your trust, so this person must be capable of distributing trust assets and handling disputes that arise between trust beneficiaries.

Plan for remarriage

If you are a spouse in a blended family, you should plan for the possibility that your spouse will remarry after you pass. By establishing a trust, you can ensure that your assets are protected even if your spouse remarries.

Include health care information

Finally, although passing along assets is a big part of the estate planning process, the health care aspect of estate planning may be the most important. During the estate planning process, you can decide who will make health care decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so yourself. If you fail to designate a person to make these types of decisions, it can lead to familial conflict down the road. This is especially important in blended families, as it isn’t uncommon for a spouse to cut his or her husband or wife’s biological children out of the picture when their parent becomes unable to make personal healthcare decisions.

Contact a Michigan estate planning attorney

If you are a member of a blended family, you need an estate plan. At Keating Law, PLC, our experienced Michigan estate planning attorney will help you craft an estate plan that ensures your blended family is fully protected. So, if you are ready to begin the Michigan estate planning process, please contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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