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Blended families and estate planning

Many families in the Kent area are "non-traditional." There are many relationships in which a couple does not stay married forever. When a couple winds up divorcing, this is, many times, not the end of their love lives. Most spouses go out, date and find another person to marry. In a "blended family" situation, estate planning is especially important.

Blended families create a unique estate planning situation. In a remarriage situation, there can be many parties involved, including former and current spouses, children, stepchildren and in-laws. With the potential for many people to be involved in a person's life, it is important to have a plan in place for their assets when they pass away.

Usually remarried couples want their assets to go to their spouse when they pass away, with their children from their previous marriages ultimately being the beneficiaries of their assets as well. In these cases, it is important for people to make sure their beneficiary designations are correct. Regardless of what is in a will or trust, the designated beneficiary receives the assets. If a former spouse is listed as a beneficiary, that individual will receive the money. It is important to keep in mind that accounts can have multiple primary beneficiaries, which can be a good thing in a blended family situation. A trust is also a good estate planning tool with a will as well to spell out who gets what in assets that are not titled. It can also be a good idea to give the children immediate access to their inheritance instead of having it go through the new spouse who can live for several more decades.

Prenuptial agreements can also be a good idea for second and subsequent marriages. Making decisions about assets and having a legal document drawn up is an effective way to minimize the arguments down the road. Maintaining separate assets is important throughout the marriage if each spouse intends to pass their assets to their own children.

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Phone: 425-336-2908
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