Blended families are becoming more common than nuclear families nowadays. In a blended family, one of the two parents or both of them has children from their previous marriage. Blended families are also known as step-family, reconstituted family or a complex family. Estate planning for blended families is hard to execute because of its complications. During framing an estate plan a lot of things get into consideration in order to come out with a perfect plan. The estate planning should consider the living spouse, children of the decedent from the previous marriage and current marriage. Children of the spouse from his/her previous marriage if any are also get consideration.
To come up with a perfect estate plan a person needs to follow some ideas that can guarantee a hassle-free will execution in a blended family. Some of these ideas are:-
1. Update The Will
If a person made a will in favour of his/her previous spouse, then he/she is needs to update the will as soon as possible. Neglecting this can cause serious problems to the living spouse of the testator.
If there is no will update before the testator death then the court will proceed probation with the old will. In this case the ex-spouse and the beneficiaries of the old will get all the benefits.
The testator needs to update the will. This way, his/her current spouse will not face any trouble in claiming the testator’s assets after his/her death.
2. Trusts in Estate Planning
Trusts are better options than wills while doing estate planning for blended families. They are the best instrument to distribute a decedent’s assets among his/her spouse and children.
Trusts are more easy to execute and are cheap as compared to the probate process. A trust gives detailed information about how the decedent’s assets are going to be distributed. A trust mentions clearly which part of the decedent’s estate will go to whom.
A person can also update his/her trust from time to time according to the situation he/she is going through.
3. Pour-Over wills in Estate Planning
The main function of pour-over wills is to protect the assets of the decedent which are not included in the trust he/she have created.Estate planning with pour-over wills is the right way to go keeping in mind the asset’s security.
Pour-over will prevent the assets from getting distributed by the court. Person who does a pour-over will have the assurance that after his/her death the non-inclusive assets in the trust will automatically get transferred to the decedent’s living trust.
4. Life Insurance
A person should include the life insurance policies he/she has registered into while doing the estate planning. The person should clearly mention the beneficiaries of his/her life insurance to prevent confusions after the person’s death.
As we all know that a life insurance can have only one beneficiary therefore a person frames his/her estate plan according to this. The plan must be such that it should divide the decedent’s fund equally among his/her spouse and children. If the spouse is getting the benefits of the life insurance then the children will get the remaining assets of the decedent or vice versa.
5. A Proper Will
If a person prefers will more than trust then he/she should go with will. But should have a proper plan before going down this path.In case of a blended family, if the will is not made properly then the children from decedent’s previous marriage may suffer.
If the will transfer all of decedent’s assets to his/her current spouse, then he/she can deny to give the assets to the children from decedent’s previous marriage. The living spouse has the authority and power to do this.
The testator should keep this in mind before making the will. The will should be framed in such a way that it will not cause any trouble to anyone after the death of the testator. Estate planning success depends on the will, a confusing will can hamper the estate plan.
Estate planning for blended families can be a burden. But if framed with proper strategy then it can ensure or guarantee an equal distribution of assets and funds among the living spouse and children from both current and previous marriage. A proper estate plan saves the decedent’s family from troubles and confusions giving them a clear picture of what the decedent want.
Do you want to have do estate planning for blended families without any stress? So, keep these ideas in mind and you are good to go.