According to statistics from the Pew Research Center, a staggering 42 percent of Americans are in a “step” relationship. This means that you or someone you know is probably one of the 95.5 million people who are part of a blended family.
Estate planning that is needed to secure a financial future for the millions of Americans who are divorced, remarried and widowed is available, but it can be tricky. There are numerous ways in which your plan can go wrong. The stakes get even higher if you want your estate left to your current spouse and family versus your former spouse.
The problem? Spouses and families, current and former, aren’t always able to come to an amicable agreement on vital issues.
Let’s take a look at some of the vital questions that may loom in a blended family estate plan:
- How would you like your assets handled when you die?
- Who do you want to make decisions for yourself if you were unable to make them for yourself?
- How will you balance the needs of children from the first spouse with the needs of the second spouse?
- Would you like your surviving family to have a significant amount of decision-making power over your estate?
You might want to establish a trust to lay everything out in detail.
With a better idea of what you want to happen in the case of your untimely demise, you should discuss your plans with a qualified estate planning attorney, who can formalize them and add legal structure. Leaving open-ended questions may provoke “slighted” family members to sue causing delays and legal fees.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Ben Franklin
Contact estate planning attorney Chuck Bendig to get started.