Living in a blended family can be a great experience, but it can also come with some challenges. You’ll have to learn new family dynamics, and the fact that you’re not you stepchildren’s biological parent will never go away. But the intricacies of a blended family can be amplified when it comes to estate planning, or lack thereof, which is why it’s important that you know how to effectively engage in estate planning to meet your needs in this situation.
Estate planning in a blended family
One of the biggest reasons that estate planning is so challenging in blended families is because there’s oftentimes a misunderstanding about asset distribution. If you pass away without an estate plan, then your spouse will inherit your half of community property, which is probably the largest portion of your estate. Your spouse, then, is under no obligation to leave any of those assets to your biological children from another relationship, which could put them at risk of being cut out altogether.
So, what can you do to protect your loved ones and your assets? One commonly utilized tool is the remainder trust. Here, you leave your estate to your spouse in a way that he or she is supported, but with any assets remaining in the trust at the time of your spouse’s passing being diverted to another named beneficiary. This means that you can specify that your biological children will inherit your estate upon your spouse’s passing.
Know your options before creating your estate plan
The remainder trust is just one option at your disposal that may help you create the future for your family that you envision. But there are many other avenues that you can take. What’s important to realize is that the process is entirely customizable to suit your needs and the needs of your family. With that in mind, if you’d like to learn more about what the estate planning process can do for you, then we encourage you to continue to read up on the topic and reach out for help if needed.