UNDERSTANDING BLENDED FAMILY TRUSTS …
WHO NEEDS A BLENDED FAMILY TRUST?
Proper estate planning is especially crucial for individuals who have remarried and have a blended family. In such situations, there are several potential complexities and risks that need to be addressed to ensure that all family members are provided for and that your wishes are carried out effectively. Let’s explore the benefits of estate planning in this context and the dangers of not taking any action:
- Benefits of Blended-Family Trust: A blended-family trust is a valuable tool in estate planning for blended families. By creating such a trust, you can ensure that your assets are used for the benefit of your current spouse during their lifetime while still protecting the interests of your children from your previous marriage. You can designate specific assets or portions of the trust to go to your children upon your spouse’s death, providing for both your current spouse’s needs and your children’s future financial security.
- Risk of Disinheriting Children from Prior Marriage: If you leave all your assets to your new spouse without a proper plan, there’s a risk that your children from your previous marriage could be disinherited entirely should your new spouse outlive you. This can create significant financial hardship and emotional distress for your children.
- Protecting Your Loved Ones: Estate planning allows you to articulate your wishes clearly and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your intentions. Without a proper plan, your assets may be distributed according to state laws, which may not align with your desires or priorities. This could lead to unintended consequences and may not adequately provide for your spouse or children from both marriages.
- Protecting Your New Spouse: If you do not update your estate plan after remarrying, your new spouse may not be adequately provided for in the event of your death. A will created during your prior marriage might not account for your new spouse’s needs and rights as a surviving spouse, potentially leaving them financially vulnerable.
- Flexibility and Customization: Blended-family trusts can be highly flexible, allowing you to tailor the terms to fit your unique family dynamics and needs. You can appoint a trustee to manage the trust and ensure that it is administered according to your wishes, providing a level of control and protection for your beneficiaries.
- Avoiding Conflict and Uncertainty: Proper estate planning can help prevent potential conflicts among family members after your passing. Clear instructions in your will or trust can minimize misunderstandings and disagreements between your current spouse and children from your previous marriage, as well as between step-siblings.
- Inadequate Protection for Stepchildren: Similarly, a will created during your prior marriage may not include your new stepchildren as beneficiaries. Without proper estate planning, your stepchildren may be left without any inheritance or financial support, even if you intended to provide for them.
In summary, proper estate planning is essential for individuals in blended families to safeguard their loved ones and ensure their assets are distributed as intended. Failing to take action and not updating your estate plan after remarriage can lead to family conflicts, inadequate protection for spouses and stepchildren, and the risk of disinheriting your children from a prior marriage. A blended-family trust is a valuable option that provides protection, flexibility, and peace of mind, ensuring your estate benefits both your current spouse and your children from previous marriages according to your wishes. It is strongly advised to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive plan that addresses all these considerations and protects the interests of your blended family.
Advanced estate planning today can give you peace of mind – knowing that if something catastrophic were to happen to you, your family would be protected by your property being distributed according to your wishes. The Schaller Law Firm can give you peace of mind by drafting a revocable living trust.
Take the Next Step …
The Schaller Law Firm drafts the revocable blended family trust, and any other estate planning documents requested.
Attorney Schaller reviews the draft estate planning documents with you and makes any necessary changes. Then, your estate planning documents are signed, witnessed, and notarized.
You keep your original revocable blended family trust in a safe place, like a lockable metal box or drawer in your home, safe-deposit box, or other place you store valuable papers and jewelry. A copy can be retained by the Schaller Law Firm for safe keeping.
Celebrate knowing your estate planning documents are completed. Enjoy the peace of mind knowing your wishes will be implemented.
Complicated? You bet.
You should have an estate planning attorney on your side. Tap into Attorney Schaller’s 37+ years of legal experience. He wrote the book on client satisfaction.
FREE consultation! Start protecting yourself and your family with a complete estate plan. Call to schedule your appointment, request an appointment through the Contact Us page, or book an appointment with the convenient online booking system.