Second marriages bring along numerous joys and challenges — especially when it comes to estate planning. If you have children from previous marriages, it can be even more complex. Like most people, you want to provide for your children and your new spouse — making sure everyone is treated fairly along the way.
Estate plans must fit the needs of your estate. If you don’t have an estate plan, your blended family situation gets tricky in court. Never rely on your current spouse, ex-spouse and children to resolve the distribution issues on their own. Without any formal estate plan, your estate is in the hands of the courts and since the courts are obligated to follow the estate statutes, your children and spouse might not get the portion of your estate you expected them to.
Blended families have a variety of complex issues that an estate planning attorney can iron out. Before you meet with your attorney, sit down and figure out the answers to the following questions:
- Who will be your beneficiaries? Is your ex-spouse included?
- Is your ex-spouse still listed on bank accounts and insurance forms as your beneficiary?
- What portion of your estate goes to your children versus your new spouse?
- Who will serve as a guardian for your children?
Your estate planning attorney has the tools and tips to make sure your estate goes where it needs to go. Even though you think leaving your estate to your spouse is the best approach, you might be surprised at the difficulty that comes with that. Therefore, consult your estate planning attorney to find out what is the best option for protecting your family and your family’s legacy even when you’re no longer around to do so yourself.
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