What Estate Planning Measures Should I Take with a Blended Family?

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Upon remarrying, you may now have a new spouse, stepchildren, stepgrandchildren, and even pets. This is in combination with the children, grandchildren, and pets that you may have from your previous marriage. Put simply, your estate plan must mirror this significant change in your family dynamic. Follow along to find out what estate planning measures you should take upon entering a blended family and how a proficient Putnam County estate planning attorney at the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC can help you execute this.

Should I have remarriage protections within my estate plan?

First of all, say for instance that you do not enter a blended family, but rather your surviving spouse does upon your passing. For reasons such as this one, it is almost always recommended to incorporate a remarriage protection provision in your revocable trust or irrevocable trust. This provision ensures that your estate plan can still be carried out even if your surviving spouse remarries. This is because you likely do not want your assets to go to your surviving spouse’s new spouse and new stepchildren instead of your shared children.

What other measures should I take in my estate plan with a blended family?

Overall, upon remarrying and entering a blended family, it is in your best interest to revoke your original estate plan and establish an entirely new one. This is because your original estate plan may no longer be relevant, as it may name your former spouse as a beneficiary and not your new spouse, new stepchildren, stepgrandchildren, etc. Overall, it may not even be valid and enforceable in New York State anymore, ultimately forcing your blended family to undergo the strenuous probate process.

And with the amount of individuals you likely have to account for in a blended family, you may have difficulty in divvying up your assets fairly and justly. And more individuals added into the mix may mean a higher probability of disputes. To avoid these challenges, you may consider taking any or all of the following measures:

  • You may consider appointing third-party healthcare and financial powers of attorney, who will be neutral when making your medical and financial decisions.
  • You may consider appointing a professional fiduciary to be the trustee of your estate, who will be neutral when administering your assets amongst your blended family members.
  • You may consider what separate assets your children will inherit from your former spouse, and your stepchildren from your new spouse, and assign yours accordingly.
  • You may consider naming your new spouse as the primary beneficiary of your life insurance policy and retirement account, all while naming your other blended family members to comparable assets.

Regarding your estate plan, there is no time like the present to get started. So please reach out to a talented Putnam County estate planning attorney from the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC at your earliest possible convenience.

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