Estate Planning and Blended Families

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  • The Law Offices of Ryan S. Dougay
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  • March 18, 2018

Estate Planning and Blended Families

As the divorce rate increases, so too does the number of second and subsequent marriages. Many couples who are remarrying also have children from prior relationships. More and more families becoming “blended families” and that leaves many couples to seek the advice of an estate planning attorney to find out how they can protect the interests of their own children.

When addressing estate planning when there is a blended family involved, couples need to have honest and open discussions about the issues involved and what each other’s wishes for their own children are. If the children are adults, then couples may want to include them, as well.

In mapping out an estate plan, you will want to consider the different scenarios that could happen.

For example, if you pass away before your spouse does, will he or she really provide for your children as well as their own when he or she pass away? And if they pass away before you do, how do you feel about what part of your spouse’s estate will be shared with you and what part will be shared with his or her children? You and your spouse also need to discuss the possibility of the different conflicts which could arise between each of you and the other spouse’s children.

So, what type of estate planning divisions should be decided? An estate planning attorney can help with specific advice based on your situation, but the following is a general overview of some possibilities:

Sole Accounts or Trusts

In order to protect your own child’s inheritance, consider setting up separate bank accounts or trust in your name only. Have your child named as the payable on death beneficiary. If you set an account up this way, then when you die, your spouse will still have access to any joint accounts the two of you have together, but any accounts in your name only will go immediately to the beneficiary. This type of arrangement also works well if you have inherited assets and want to ensure that these assets are inherited by your child or children and not by your spouse’s children.

If you inherit or own property that you want to go directly to your child and not your spouse, you can add your child’s name to the property deed so that you now own it jointly and they have right of survivorship.

Life Insurance Policies

Another way to ensure asset go to your children and not your spouse’s children is to invest in life insurance policies that name your children as beneficiaries. These funds are totally separate from the estate.

Life Estate Deed

If you own the home you and your spouse live in, you can make sure that if you die first, that your spouse’s children will not get the home when he or she dies. You can do this by deeding the home to your spouse in a life estate with a real estate lawyer such as the estate planning lawyer Sacramento CA locals turn to. This allows the spouse to continue to live in the home as long as he or she is alive, however, if they decide to move or if they pass away, the home will remain with your children. A life estate deed means that the property cannot be sold unless your children sell it.

Thanks to authors at Yee Law Group PLLC for their insight into Estate Planning.