Estate Planning Pointers for Blended Families

Blended families have to deal with a number of unique concerns when it comes to estate planning. To make things more complicated, one blended family’s set of challenges is often different from the other. For instance, the Brady Bunch has each spouse with children from a previous marriage. Sometimes, only one spouse has kids. In some cases, the union of spouses may have resulted in children a generation younger than the offspring from previous relationships, which may or may not have ended due to death or divorce.

So clearly, blended families should appraise their situation when approaching estate planning. Below are a few pointers on 3 major factors you need to consider.

Prenuptial Agreements

It’s a good idea for spouses to consider a prenuptial agreement before getting married. Although sometimes a source of tension, a prenup offers one of the best ways for partners to protect their children, outlining property rights and financial responsibilities between both sides of the family.

A prenuptial agreement also defines the extent of the new spouse’s rights should the relationship end in death or divorce.

Beneficiaries

Prospective spouses and their families should also check beneficiary designation forms to see if a former spouse(s) still has beneficiary status, making them eligible for life insurance and retirement premiums.

It’s also important to check if any minor children have beneficiary status. When a parent passes away without any prior estate planning, the legal guardian usually becomes custodian of the minor’s estate. This situation may raise objections from divorced parents, who may not be keen on an ex-partner having custody over the minor child’s inheritance.

Instead, what you can do is leave a minor child’s inherence in trust to a person of your suggestion to ensure no ex-partner will control the inheritance.

Joint Property

Property shared by joint tenants with right of survivorship automatically comes under the sole ownership of the co-tenant upon the death of the other. That being said, it’s critical that spouses in a blended family take care when titling property, particularly when it comes to the addition of a new spouse to the title of an existing separate property. Otherwise, blended families may fail to give the proper inheritance to their children.

To learn more about how a previous divorce can affect your estate planning, get expert advice from an experienced family lawyer from Lyttle Law Firm. Contact us by calling 512-215-5225 or by filling out our online contact form.