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Blending It Up: Estate Planning and Your New Blended Family

As you began the journey of a new life together, estate planning might have the last thing on your mind. However, whilst settling into your new lives together, you and your spouse may start to think about what would happen if one or both of you passed away. It's important to work on estate planning to make sure that everyone -- whether they're yours, theirs or both of yours -- are provided for fairly and in the way that you both want. Here's how estate planning can be beneficial for blended families like yours. 

You Can Provide For Your Spouse After Death

It's undoubtedly important to you that your spouse is provided for after you die. However, simply leaving your whole estate to your spouse could mean that your kids might not inherit what you want them to have. This problem can be handled in several different ways, but one of the most popular is the marital trust. Marital trusts provide for your spouse whilst still setting aside money (and property, if desired) for your kids. 

You Can Divide Assets Fairly

You and your spouse each brought your own assets to the marriage -- and it's likely that you'll gain new joint assets whilst married as well. It's important that all assets are considered so that they can be accounted for properly in the estate planning. Before you and your spouse visit the wills and estate lawyers, try to create a list of assets, including all of the following.

  • Homes
  • Property of any type, whether personal or commercial
  • Automobiles
  • Cash in bank accounts
  • Pension funds
  • Stock market holdings
  • Jewellery
  • Art
  • Collections of any notable value, for example coin collections
  • Any other items of significant worth

Whilst working with your wills and estates lawyers, you'll decide how to divide these assets. Since you're dealing with more than one heir, it's vital that you get quite specific about how you wish for property to be divided. It will help preserve the peace and unity in the blended family after you and your spouse are gone. 

You Can Update Your Beneficiaries

Your insurance policies, life insurance policies and pension accounts have designated beneficiaries -- but have you stopped to consider those beneficiaries lately? It's quite possible that your beneficiaries were designated years ago, long before you got remarried. It's important to update the beneficiaries so that your policies are paid out to your new spouse or to whoever you wish. 

Before you visit your wills and estates lawyers, try to create a list of your policies and beneficiaries. At this time, determine which changes you'd like to make. With a blended family, you may even wish to create more than one beneficiary per policy. 

There's no doubt that blended families create a whole new level of love in your life. The best way to honor the great addition that your new family has made to your life is to make sure that every member of the blended family gets what you and your spouse want them to have. Contact a local estate planning attorney for help with that today!