Estate Planning for Blended Families
When parents remarry, children naturally feel the need for security and love from their parent. A blended family can be a major adjustment for all children and spouses. With some thought and planning, you can ensure that all of your loved ones are provided for in your estate plan, and ensure that your family remains harmonious and integrated even through the most stressful times.
An estate planning lawyer can sit down with you and your spouse, learn your unique needs and concerns, hopes and fears, and then craft a custom estate plan and gifting strategy that will respect your wishes and ensure they are carried out.
So you’ve gotten married, have settled in, and are ready to start your new life with a wonderful new life partner. Congratulations! Second marriages present many opportunities for happiness and fulfillment. They also present the opportunity for spouses to work together to prepare a comprehensive estate plan that considers the needs and concerns of both spouses, their respective children, children born into the marriage, and any goals the new family has set for their future.
Considerations in Estate Planning
When spouses have prior children, unique estate planning strategies are needed to ensure that the blended family remains harmonious and cooperative throughout the marriage and after the death of one spouse. We are all too familiar with the family contention and discord that happens when a parent dies without an estate plan in place. Add the concerns presented by children from multiple marriages and it becomes readily apparent that a comprehensive estate plan and gifting strategy is more important than ever: a plan that considers the assets of each parent, their wishes to help their children later in life, and the new couple’s own children’s needs, possibly.
Many people feel that leaving their property to their spouse at death is the easiest way to deal with estate planning. But vague assurances or even the most optimistic of hopes that the children and surviving new spouse can work it out are no substitute for a real estate plan. Leaving property to the spouse does not ensure that all the children of both spouses are provided for. It can also result in unwanted tax consequences, eroding the legacy you worked so hard to provide. Children from the previous marriages need to feel security: they need to know that with dad’s new wife or mom’s new husband, they will not be forgotten. Cherished family heirlooms are meaningful to them, and they want to make sure special memories stay in their lineage.
Beware of joint tenancy
Property held in joint tenancy poses a special danger for the blended family: when one spouse dies, title automatically transfers to the surviving spouse and becomes part of his or her estate. Eventually, it will pass to the children of the surviving spouse only. Your children may have grown up in and become attached to that home, but may end up disinherited from those fond sentiments while the home goes to their step-siblings who do not have the same emotional investment in it.
Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer
If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506