Second marriages offer the complexities of blended families. A blended family is one where each spouse has brought children or property from a previous union. The situation is further complicated when you introduce new property and children from this second union. With proper estate planning, you can make sure every member of your blended family is provided for after your death.
Why to Plan
Estate planning allows you to choose specific beneficiaries to receive your assets. With a blended family plan, you can make sure your children receive the inheritance you want to leave to them. If you know one of your children is expecting a certain item, even if only of sentimental value, you should protect that expectation by including it in your estate plan.
If you do not use your estate plan to enumerate inheritances for your spouse and children, you are forcing them to work it out after you have passed away. This idea is not fair to any loved one and may create family fights and hard feelings.
If your spouse receives all of your property after your death, there is no guarantee that he or she will leave the same inheritance to your children that you would have left. Your estate plan allows you to ensure your children receive a proper inheritance.
Updating Your Plan
You and your spouse should also make sure your plans are up-to-date. If either or both plans are old, children on each side run the risk of disinheritance. For example, if your spouse receives everything, but his or her Will is out of date and only include his or her children, your offspring may receive nothing.
How to Plan
You can create a solid blended family estate plan by listing specific inheritances in your Last Will and Testament or with a Revocable Living Trust. You can also use an AB Trust for your spouse and separate individuals Trusts for your children. However you go about it, just make sure to protect the bequest of every loved one.