Estate planning is one important way for parents to give themselves peace of mind and ensure that their children have the support they need no matter what the future brings. When one or both spouses enter a marriage with children from a previous relationship, though, they should take additional care to create an estate plan that reflects the needs of their unique family. What should people consider when creating an estate plan to support their blended family?
Keep in mind that your spouse may outlive you.
As CNBC notes, if you were to leave everything to your spouse, those assets may not go to your children after they eventually pass on. Thankfully, it is possible to create a plan that provides for your spouse without accidentally disinheriting your children. A trust is one way to provide for your spouse’s needs while they live but to pass the remaining assets on to your children later.
Consider passing some of your possessions to your children right away.
In some cases, you might know that you want to provide some money to your children or to pass along specific family heirlooms to them. If that is the case, you may want to pass those assets on to them at your death rather than keeping them in your spouse’s possession. This will allow your children to benefit from their inheritance immediately.
Outline how decisions will be made if you are incapacitated.
If you were to become ill or incapacitated, choices about your care could become a significant source of conflict between the members of your family. Who will make those decisions on your behalf? Who will receive information from the doctor? Who should be allowed to visit you? Take care when naming someone to make healthcare decisions for you, and discuss your wishes with all of your loved ones so that everyone understands why you made that choice.
Through careful planning and a skilled legal strategy, you can create an estate plan that reflects your family’s unique needs and provides for all of your loved ones.