If you have children and other family members in a blended family due to a second marriage, you may need to think about how your estate will now benefit them. It may be time to speak with a lawyer or financial planner to learn about your options. In the meantime, consider these tips for how your estate may work out:
1. Your estate includes more than your house, car, and other investments. It also includes personal items, insurance, jewelry, and more. It is important to talk about these items before you get married, expressing your wishes for distribution clearly and firmly.
2. You must consider every scenario in planning your estate. What should happen if you die first? What if your spouse dies first? What if you both die at the same time? What if one of your heirs dies before you do? As unpleasant as it may be, designing a solid plan requires you to look at the situation from every angle.
3. Don't forget to change insurance policies and retirement accounts. It is not uncommon to accidentally have a former spouse listed on these documents.
4. Make lists of the personal items you want to leave specifically to your children. Your children may be disappointed to find that family heirlooms were not left to them but to a spouse or to the child of the spouse.
5. With just a simple will, you run the risk of alienating your children from a previous marriage. You never know what will happen after you pass away, and protecting children (minors or otherwise) must be done explicitly.
6. Do you want your assets to be given to your child immediately after you pass away or after your spouse passes away? Setting up an estate plan allows you to make this choice yourself.
7. What assets do you still share with a former spouse? It's time to make sure that your affairs are in order in this regard. Otherwise, your children may be bypassed to send assets to your ex-spouse.
8. It may be worth your time and effort to put some assets into a trust while you are still alive. Joint ownership is another possibility to avoid probate after you pass away.
Ultimately, the best way to plan is often to speak with an attorney or financial adviser, like those at Family Financial Partners. Estate planning is never easy, especially when you bring two different families together.