When it comes to building a future with your significant other, you want to spend the rest of your life with them and eventually start a family. However, despite the fresh start you have in mind, situations may not always be like what you expect.
Sometimes, you or your partner could be married in the past and have children from their ex-spouses. If you have full custody of your child, that means your partner must look after them and treat them like their own.
Blended families can be complicated, especially when wills and estates are involved and the members don’t know who gets to inherit the wealth and possessions when the time comes. To have a better idea of how estate planning works for blended families, keep reading below.
Building a Trust
For a married couple, their first decision often involves handing down everything they own to each other and stating it in their wills. When one of you expires, the remaining living spouse inherits any property or wealth left behind.
With blended families, a husband or a wife with children from their previous relationships has the right to decide if they do not want to give the kids anything. A solution to addressing your spouse’s needs and their children is to include your wealth and real estate in a trust.
So long as your spouse and kids are alive, they can benefit from your possessions. If they pass away, the children get to take over the trust. You are required to assign a trustee of your trust, such as a bank. After you pass away, there are fewer chances for conflicts in the family.
For couples with a huge age gap, setting up a trust for a young spouse could mean that your children may not receive anything from you for a longer time. If your estate does not involve much, after your spouse’s time is up, there might not be anything left for your kids. The best solution is to assign your children as beneficiaries of your retirement accounts or life insurance from the start to guarantee they have something to inherit once you go.
Writing Your Living Wills and Powers of Attorney
An essential part of an estate plan is your living will, a document containing your wishes regarding your wealth if you become diagnosed with a terminal disease. You will also need a healthcare power of attorney assigning someone else to decide for your medical condition on your behalf if you can’t do it on your own anymore.
Other than that, you will also require a solid power of attorney stating the name of a person that can manage your financial matters the moment you are unable to do so. Usually, individuals appoint their spouse, but if a blended family is in the picture, you can also consider other family members.
The reason you don’t always have to assign all the responsibilities to your spouse if you belong to a blended family is that you don’t want conflict, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings. Regardless of whether you have a blended family or not, it may be best to leave your will and powers of attorney to those who can take on enormous responsibilities involved.
When you fail to complete your estate plan, all the properties and money you own can be distributed based on your state’s intestacy policies. Since you didn’t leave an official estate plan behind, you don’t get to decide what happens to your assets, leaving your spouse and children to divide your assets among each other. Moreover, your stepchildren may be unable to receive anything from you. That’s why it’s crucial to accomplish your estate plan while it still isn’t too late. You could work with a family lawyer to guide you through everything you need to ensure your estate falls in the right hands.
Are you looking to hire a wills and estates lawyer in Langley or Surrey? Dreyer and Associates Lawyers LLP serves families and strives to do everything in their best interests. We cater to family law, wills and estates, residential conveyancing, and more. Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment!