Your Family Matters

Be cautious when estate planning in a blended family

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Estate Planning

On its face, estate planning might seem relatively simple, especially if you just want to evenly divide your assets amongst your spouse and your children. But the process isn’t always as easy as it seems, particularly if you’re estate planning in a blended family.

In fact, if you’re not careful, then your basic estate plan could leave your assets in the hands of those you never wanted to inherit in the first place.

The risks of poor estate planning in a blended family

Without an estate plan, the state’s intestate succession law will dictate how your assets will be distributed. While you might be fine with your spouse and your children inheriting your estate, you don’t want to be too short-sighted. Without an estate plan in place, you lose control over your assets, meaning that your spouse could then leave your assets to their children, thus cutting your family out of inheriting those assets further down the road.

The same can be said for poorly developed estate plans. These documents can be too narrow, putting your estate at risk of being distributed in a way that contravenes your wishes.

How can you create a strong estate plan when you’re in a blended family?

The good news is that you have several options. For example, you can use a remainder trust so that you provide for your spouse while still specifying where your assets go after your spouse passes away. You can also use other estate planning strategies that give you long-term control over your assets. Just be sure to talk through those options with your attorney so that you can make the fully informed decisions that you think are right for you.