If you are a blended family, then you know that estate planning can be a little more complicated than for traditional families. When creating an estate plan, there are many things to consider, and it is essential to get it right. Our Las Vegas estate planning attorneys discuss different aspects of blended families and seven estate planning tips to consider.
Is Estate Planning Different for Blended Families?
There is no inherent difference in estate planning for blended families, but often, there are more people to consider. Blended families can include families with stepchildren or half-siblings, extended family members who live in the same home, etc. These family structures are becoming more common today, with over 16 percent of children in the U.S. living in a blended family.
Tip # 1: Consider All of Your Family Members
When creating your estate plan, it is important to consider all your family members. This includes your spouse, children, and any other relatives whom your estate might impact. Each family member has different needs and interests, and you need to make sure that everyone is taken care of in your estate plan.
Tip #2: Set Up a Trust
One of the best ways to protect your family in your estate plan is to establish a trust. A trust can be used to manage assets and provide for family members after you die. Trusts are often used to:
Provide for medical expenses
Support a family member with special needs
And other family obligations
Trusts provide safeguards that help avoid any potential unfair treatment or disagreements down the road.
Tip # 3: Draw Up a Prenuptial Agreement
You should consider drawing up a prenuptial agreement if you are married or remarried. This document can help protect your assets in divorce or death. A prenuptial agreement can also help to keep things fair if you have children from a previous relationship.
Tip# 4: Choose a Trustworthy Trustee
If you are setting up a trust, choosing a trustworthy and responsible trustee is vital. The trustee will be in charge of managing the trust assets and distributing them according to your wishes.
Tip# 5: Decide Whom Will make Healthcare Decisions
If you cannot make your own healthcare decisions, it is crucial to decide who will make them for you. This person will be responsible for making decisions about your medical care, and they should be someone you trust. You can designate this person in a healthcare power of attorney.
Tip # 6: Keep Your Plan Up-To-Date
Estate plans are not static documents. As your family changes and grows, your estate plan should change. You may have to update who the beneficiaries are to things such as 401k plans and life insurance policies. You should review your estate plan at least once every five years to ensure it is still up-to-date and accurate.
Tip # 7: Work with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
It is best to work with an experienced attorney regarding estate planning. An attorney can help you understand the laws and ensure that your estate plan is properly executed. In addition to providing legal guidance, an estate planning attorney can assist you with the following tasks:
Creating a wills and trusts
Designating your beneficiaries
Establishing a durable power of attorney and durable medical power of attorney
Finding ways to reduce and avoid estate tax when possible
Finding ways to avoid the probate court process
If you have any questions about estate planning for blended families, or if you need help creating an estate plan, don't hesitate to get in touch with our office. Our Las Vegas estate planning attorneys are here to help you and your family.
Contact us today at (702) 479-5322 to schedule a case consultation.