With blended families essentially being the norm, your estate planning strategy must be as adaptable as possible in order to serve you better.
Estate Planning Services for Blended Families
The “regular” rules of estate planning don’t work well for many blended families and you need advice tailored to your unique situation to obtain the best possible result. Knowing how to spot the issues is a great way to know what help is needed.
Blended families include those with stepchildren, children born outside of marriage, and children being raised by a single parent or by grandparents. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common types of blended families, as well as the estate planning strategies they need to know about.
Example conflicts in blended family estate planning
Let’s say two divorced individuals, Judy and Ian, meet one another and decide to marry. Judy and Ian both have a child from a previous marriage, who will now be step-siblings. What happens when one or the other parent passes away?
In some cases, each parent will want to pass their estate onto their biological child. The problem here, however, is that there might be large discrepancies in the size of the spouses’ estates.
What if Judy and Ian decide that if one of them passes away, the surviving spouse should have some benefit from the deceased’s estate? This is a common goal for married couples, even in second or later marriages. And, it can lead to serious impasses if step-children feel that they’re not receiving the same treatment as biological children. What if Ian was 20 years Judy’s senior? Significant age gaps can also play a role in complicating blended family estate planning. There are countless issues that can come up when planning is inadequate or nonexistent. Of course, any of these conflicts may lead to an expensive lawsuit and, ultimately, disgruntled individuals.
Navigating These Issues
The most important thing about making sure estate planning decisions stand the test of time is going over as many potential situations as possible in the planning process. Luckily, we’re prepared to work through these issues with you. In many cases, a combination of strategies, from joint trusts, irrevocable trusts, LLCs, and other tools, can be implemented so that your goals are achieved.
If you have any questions about what sorts of estate planning products for your blended family, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are here to help you offer the best services possible to you.