If you’re in a blended family, such as a second marriage with children from a previous relationship, you can do much to keep the peace in your family with your estate plan. One way to keep the peace, using your estate plan, is to specifically consider and plan for your children. This could include not making your children wait until your second spouse dies before they will inherit. Waiting and putting the children second may cause hurt feelings and a breakdown of relationships that you’ve likely worked hard to foster.
Use Life Insurance to Create Inheritances, if Needed
If you have sufficient assets, you may wish to provide an inheritance for both your children and your spouse at your death. If assets are scarce, purchasing life insurance to create an inheritance may be an option. Consult with an experienced, qualified estate planning attorney before making such a purchase.
If You Own Assets Jointly, You Disinherit Your Children
Many married couples own assets jointly, such as in joint tenancy, so the surviving spouse inherits everything at the death of the first spouse to die. This means that the surviving spouse gets all of the assets; and, the children, from a previous relationship, get nothing.
Don’t Make Your Children Remainder Beneficiaries
If your children are from another relationship, careful planning is needed if they will be the remainder beneficiaries of your spouse’s trust. After your death, this could cause a breakdown in the relationship between your spouse and your children; there could well be an inherit competition regarding how trust assets are spent and how they’re invested.
Instead, providing for totally separate inheritances for your children and your spouse might be consider. Have any remaining assets in your spouse’s trust go to charity or to the beneficiaries of your spouse’s choice.
If you’re in a blended family, you can keep the peace by carefully considering how your children will be included in your estate plan. If you are in a second (or third) marriage, consult with a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney for assistance. Don’t expect to find this type of sophisticated planning on do-it-yourself, internet or bargain basement
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