There are many challenges blended families face, and estate planning is no exception. Support groups and therapists are offered to help blended families learn to mesh in a way that works for everyone. Yet, it is uncommon to see this much attention paid to estate planning. This can be an unfortunate and expensive mistake, particularly if matters go into probate.
Like estate planning for non-blended families, minimizing estate taxes is a priority. However, additional challenges include provisions for your new spouse, removing your ex-spouse as a beneficiary and providing protections for your children (if you have any).
How can you protect your own children?
If you have an estate plan already in place, you must remove your ex-spouse in order to prevent them from inheriting anything, including your retirement. If you have no estate plan in place yet, create a Will and trust outlining your new spouse as beneficiary. Keep in mind that, if you have children, your ex-spouse is likely to be named manager of your children’s inheritances in probate court. Creating a trust for your children offers protection that their inheritances will not waste away. Confer with an asset protection attorney in order to work on asset protection planning.
Are there protections for your new spouse?
There are certain conditions you must take into consideration with regard to assets and property with your new spouse. Typically, in a blended family, these things are not separated. So, in the case of your passing, it’s possible your stepchildren will inherit. By creating Wills and trusts, you may not necessarily be providing the type of protections for your children and your new spouse you might think you are. Confer with an estate planning attorney with all questions you have regarding this matter, as well as what will happen to your assets if your spouse remarries following your passing.
How are taxes handled?
Estate taxes, along with any other type of taxes for that matter, are tricky and easily misunderstood by the inexperienced. Mistakes made with estate taxes could cost into the thousands. Furthermore, issues with inheritance taxes could also become a reality. This is another area where it is vital to have an estate planning attorney or estate planning lawyer. Otherwise, you will lose tax benefits and certain tax sheltering and the IRS will become a bit richer in the process.
How to start estate planning for your blended family
Blended families face many challenges but, given time, a loving home full of joy can be established. One way to work towards this is to take care of your estate planning as soon as possible. If you have additional questions about estate planning and/or living trusts, then contact the experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. by calling 281-759-3213 to schedule your appointment today.