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How to navigate estate planning as a blended family

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2023 | Estate Planning |

An American family comes in all forms and sizes. If you are in the middle of a divorce, you may be contemplating remarriage down the road. When this happens, you and your new spouse will have a modern set-up known as a blended family. A blended family, also known as a stepfamily, occurs when you or your new spouse have children from previous marriages.

While this family composition embraces diversity, it also opens unique considerations about how the tangled relationship dynamics affect estate planning.

Estate planning tips for a tricky path

As much as you equally love your biological children from your original marriage and your spouse with their children from their prior relationship, you cannot guarantee how every party reacts when you pass on. Emotions are naturally delicate, so here are some tips you can execute to afford protection for your estate in Virginia:

  • Establish a revocable living trust: While an updated will reflecting accurate beneficiaries may suffice, a trust prevents the possibility that your surviving spouse receives more than they should have or ends up disinheriting your children. Your surviving spouse may access your assets during their lifetime, which, upon their death, will go to your children. Further, a trust can also protect your assets if your surviving spouse remarries.
  • Choose a competent trustee: Your appointed trustee must be able to referee your surviving family members while ensuring the proper management and distribution of your assets.
  • Accomplish other legal documents: Aside from your will and trust, you also have other contractual obligations on other facets of your life. For example, you must secure your financial and healthcare powers of attorney so your designated agents can decide on your behalf during incapacitation or death. You must also update your beneficiaries on insurance policies and other financial accounts.

Finding common ground with your new spouse must be on top of your list. Transparent communication by openly discussing your intentions during your lifetime saves the entire family from awkward and complex legal troubles.

Blended, but not broken

The legacy you want to leave is a well-managed estate. You would not want your estate breaking up the family you fought to have. To avoid the burdensome experience of probate proceedings, a legal team can help you devise courses of action for your blended family’s circumstances.