Blended families are becoming more and more the norm these days. Whether an original marriage ends in divorce or as a result of the death of a spouse, when people who have children from a previous marriage marry, there are many steps that need to be taken in order to ensure that everybody is comfortable and feels included. The hard work of combining two separate families and combining them into one is not limited to the efforts that need to be made for the present day. There are important decisions that need to be made regarding the future, particularly with respect to addressing how property and other assets will be distributed after each spouse dies. Though it can be uncomfortable to discuss these eventualities, addressing the challenges of estate planning with blended families is an important responsibility that can help avoid a good deal of pain, confusion and conflict in the future. For help addressing these issues and making sure that all of the questions that need to be addressed are answered, here are some tips from an experienced South Jersey attorney from the law firm of Bratton Scott.
If you have successfully created a warm and peaceful blended family, you are to be congratulated. Not everybody is so lucky, and in many cases where two families become one, conflict can lie just below the surface. Whichever situation you are in, if you are in a blended family and leave yourself without an estate plan, you leave the door open to discord. Even in the best circumstances, it is a mistake to leave the important decisions about asset and property distribution to your survivors. Sitting down with your spouse and creating a plan that addresses both of your wishes and concerns is the best way to ensure that everybody will be taken care of in the way that you want them to be.
Estate planning with a blended family should begin with sitting down to discuss what your long-term goals are. This is not an easy or comfortable thing to do. You and your spouse may find that you have different ideas on how to divide assets or personal items, and you may need to address these issues based upon which of the two of you pass away first. An experienced South Jersey estate planning attorney from Bratton Scott can walk you through all of the decisions that need to be made, as well as how to ensure that once you are in agreement on what needs to be done, that all of the paperwork and documentation that is legally required is in place. We will review your beneficiary designations to make sure that they have been updated since your marriage and are consistent with your current wishes, and advise you on the various tools that are available to ensure that everybody is taken care of in the way that you wish. Call our office today to set up an appointment to address this important topic.