One common mistake families make in their approach to estate planning is not taking into account special circumstances. The truth is that blended families require special treatment in estate planning. When two families merge, it complicates the process and can make planning that much more difficult. The law is typically designed to protect traditional families. Keep this information in mind as you consult with your attorney to plan your estate.
What Is a Blended Family?
A blended, or alternative, family is one that includes children who are not biologically or legally related to one of the adults living in the home. If your relationship includes step-children or step-parents, you have a blended family.
Let's say that you and your partner are not married, but you each bring children into the relationship. If you were to pass away, your assets would typically be passed to your children or your children and your parents. The children would be assigned guardians, and your partner would likely not receive anything.
While circumstances may differ on a case by case basis, being married to your partner may simplify things. Often, half the assets go to a spouse and half go to the children. Of course, there is still a problem here. If all the assets were in you name when you passed, your spouse would receive only a portion of those. Plus, your spouse's children would receive nothing if he or she had already passed away.
This Is Where an Estate Plan Comes In
The only way to ensure that your assets go where you intend them to is to craft an estate plan. With the right plan, you can choose to leave your assets to your spouse or all the children you have together. You can even choose to put your assets in a trust until the children come of age.
Do you want to learn more about planning your estate with a blended family? Contact us to learn about your best options. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions, but there is certainly one that will work with your family's needs.