Wills And Blended Families: What You Need To Know

Posted on: 12 April 2018

Having a blended family is very common now, which makes estate planning all the more important. When you get remarried, a lot of new family members also come into play, and it is crucial that you have made all the necessary plans with regard to your estate should you pass away. The following are some things you need to understand when dealing with your estate in a blended family:

Decide How Important Decisions Will be Dealt With

You need to decide who you want to have in charge of your decisions should you become unable to make them yourself. This would seem odd to deal with anything pertaining to your estate while you are still alive, but things can happen without notice at any time. It is important that you have someone that can make any medical or legal decisions for you. A living will is necessary to create when you are dealing with your will and estate. You simply are going to leave instructions as to how you want to be treated if you are unable to verbalize what you want. If you do not want to rely on ventilators or other long-term options to keep you alive, you will need to include this in your living will. You should also name your power of attorney at the same time. This is often a spouse, but it can be a parent or an adult child also. This can sometimes cause tension in blended families, particularly if you have children who want a say in how you are cared for. Make those decisions now so everyone is on the same page if the time comes.

Determine Who Will Get Your Estate

Many people tend to leave their estate to the living spouse. This is typical and there is nothing wrong with that option. However, in blended families, things can be more complicated. If you have children and your spouse also has children from prior relationships, you need to make decisions as to how much each person will receive.

The problem with leaving your estate to your spouse only is that it is now his or her estate. Without any stipulations attached, your spouse can do whatever they want with your estate, including who he or she wants to leave it to after their death. This can get ugly in some families. If you pass away and leave everything to your spouse, he or she can then will her estate to only her children and leave yours with nothing.

To prevent this type of situation, you need to take action now so that everyone gets their fair share based on your wishes. A popular option many families use is placing the estate in a trust. You can create a trust that stipulates who gets how much and when. If you want to support your spouse after you are gone, you can have the trust pay your spouse each month just as if it were a paycheck. This portion would come out of the amount you left for that person. You can also include your kids or anyone else you'd like in your trust. Some parents will place stipulations on when kids can get their inheritance, such as age 21 or upon completion of college. This way, everyone in your blended family is satisfied and are aware of the decisions you have made.

If you have more questions, check out websites such as http://wrightlawidaho.com/.