Estate Planning for Blended Families

Second marriages and blended families present their own issues when it comes to estate planning. If you have been through a divorce, you understand how difficult the situation can be. Every family’ situation is different, and estate planning that takes into account your unique family situation can alleviate most of your concerns. With proper planning, should be able to enjoy your second chance in marriage.

 

Here are some important estate planing items to consider chaining and/or updating when entering into a second marriage:

 

Trusts

If one of you brings significant assets to the marriage, it may be beneficial to prepare a separate property trust, before you get married to ensure that those assets ultimately end up with your chosen beneficiaries. You may make your current spouse the beneficiary of the trust until their death and then your children. Or you may have your separate property distributed directly to your children. Whether or not you have a separate property trust, you should also establish a joint trust with your spouse that has protections for the children.

 

Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs

Who will make decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself? Who will have the power to sign documents on your behalf, or make sure your bills get paid? A carefully written durable power of attorney will allow you to name someone you trust to make decisions for you if you become disabled to the point of no longer being able to make those decisions yourself.  Make sure that any previous powers of attorney (perhaps naming your previous spouse) are revoked. Execute an updated power of attorney naming your spouse, your children or another trusted individual as your agent.

 

Advance Health Care Directive

Similar to a power of attorney, a health care directive allows you to name someone you trust to make decisions about your health care when you are not capable yourself. An updated health care directive is always helpful for medical professionals in the event of an emergency. This also gives you a chance to discuss your wishes for your end-of-life care, organ donation and burial arrangements with your new spouse.

Every blended family is different and each presents its own set of challenges, both legal and personal. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the process and achieve your goals. Contact us today to start planning for your blended family.