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How to focus on estate planning with a blended family

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2022 | Estate Planning

Many New York families are blended as people commonly divorce and remarry. In that situation, it’s crucial to be smart with your estate plan. Keep these tips in mind to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Set up a trust

Having a last will and testament is often not enough to protect your spouse and children. With a blended family, you might have children from a previous relationship, which might mean that your current spouse could contest your will and prevent them from receiving an inheritance. Setting up a trust can ensure that you can leave assets and property to everyone, including your children from a prior marriage.

Update your beneficiaries

Updating your beneficiaries is crucial when you have a blended family. You might have your former spouse named to inherit your financial accounts. To prevent them from getting them, you will want to remove their name and list your current spouse as the beneficiary. Likewise, you will want to add any new children from your current marriage as heirs whether they are biological, adopted or stepchildren.

All other legal documents included in your estate plan should also be updated so that you have the right beneficiaries named. You should also make sure to choose a contingent beneficiary, someone who will inherit from you in the event that your first choice beneficiary dies before you.

Update living wills and powers of attorney

A huge part of estate planning involves having a living will and powers of attorney. Someone has to handle your health care and financial responsibilities if you are suddenly struck ill or disabled or otherwise incapacitated and cannot handle those matters yourself. With a blended family, you will want to update those documents to ensure that your current spouse or someone else you trust can be named as your agent. You certainly don’t want your former spouse to handle such matters.

When you have a blended family, these steps should be taken sooner rather than later. It can give you and them peace of mind.