Blended families have unique estate planning needs. If you have remarried and have stepchildren, it is important to take steps to ensure that your estate plan is comprehensive and takes into account the unique needs of your blended family. As a blended family, you will need to take a few extra steps in your estate planning process to ensure that every family member is accounted for. To guide you through this process, our Dallas-Fort Worth estate planning attorneys have put together the tips to help you create a comprehensive estate plan for your blended family.
Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families
As a blended family, you have the unique opportunity to create an estate plan that meets the needs of all of your loved ones. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Tip #1: Talk to Your Spouse About Your Estate Planning Goals
It is important that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to estate planning. Take some time to discuss your assets, debts, and any other financial matters that will need to be taken into account in your estate plan.
Tip #2: Create a Comprehensive List of All of Your Assets
This list should include not only property and financial assets, but also sentimental items that you want to ensure go to specific family members. You should also consider leaving some assets to your biological children upon your death. There is no guarantee that the surviving spouse will share assets with their non-biological children.
Tip #3: Consider Setting Up Trusts
Trusts can be a helpful tool in estate planning, particularly for blended families. Trusts can help to protect assets and ensure that they are distributed according to your wishes without a lengthy court process. You should consider a trust that leaves assets to your spouse for their lifetime, but that has a balance that will be passed to your children after their death. Trusts are a must for blended families as they also avoid the mandatory "contest period" that comes with using a Last Will & Testament.
Tip #4: Decide Who Will Make Health Care Decisions
Every comprehensive estate plan should include a health care directive. This will allow you to name one person to make health care decisions on your behalf if you were to become incapacitated. Will you want your surviving spouse to make decisions? Your step-children or biological children? These are questions you should consider when drafting your estate plan.
Creating a comprehensive estate plan can be complex, especially for blended families. Get in touch with our team today at (972) 560-6288 to learn how we can help you!