Estate planning is often complex. For people who are estate planning around blended families, the process can be particularly challenging. Blended families can take several forms, the most common of which is married couples who have children from previous marriages. Typically, people in blended families want to make sure that everyone including children from previous marriages receives the best care possible. Fortunately, some helpful estate planning strategies can achieve blended family goals while avoiding the possibility of friction or undesirable consequences. 

Consider Utilizing a Prenup

Even though some people view prenuptial agreements as counter-productive to romance and long-lasting marriages, these documents provide protection and a degree of predictability for what the future holds. If one person in a marriage has children from a previous relationship, a prenuptial agreement can help to make sure assets are preserved for these children.

Take Adequate Steps if You Get Remarried

If you are planning on getting remarried, it is critical to perform some necessary estate planning steps. First, you should perform a detailed analysis of your assets and debts. You should make sure to share these details in full with your future spouse. It is also a good idea to assess whether or not you will combine assets with your future spouse. While it might seem only natural to join assets, this might not be the best idea if one spouse has substantial debt. 

You should decide with your future spouse on what should happen with your assets if either one of you passes away or becomes incapacitated. Reviewing these decisions might motivate you to ultimately change the beneficiaries that are listed on your retirement accounts.

Trusts Can Play an Invaluable Role

When it comes to blended families and estate distribution, issues of fairness in distribution are common. Many families are discovering that trusts can be used in a helpful way to control asset distribution. 

By passing assets into a family trust after the death of the first spouse in a couple, the surviving spouse can then assess how to distribute assets to beneficiaries.

Other couples in blended families decide to establish marital trusts. Assets then pass to the surviving spouse after the first spouse’s death, while other residual assets are designated for beneficiaries after the surviving spouse’s death. 

Addressing Guardianship Issues

If you pass away without a will, the other parent of your child will likely receive full custody. In situations in which the other parent has limited visitation rights or limited interaction, a stepparent might be the one who will gain guardianship of a child or children. One of the best ways to minimize potential obstacles that would arise from such a decision is to articulate guardianship choices in estate planning documents.

Obtain the Assistance of an Estate Planning Lawyer

Various factors can influence what estate planning strategies work best for you. One of the best ways to make sure you have the strongest estate plan possible to contact a seasoned estate planning attorney. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.