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Does Your Blended Family Need an Advanced Estate Plan?

With a high divorce rate, blended families are a norm in American society. Such families include a variety of dynamics: step-children, half-siblings, unmarried couples with children and more. A basic estate plan may be enough to cover your blended family, but there are many advantages of advanced estate planning that may suit your family situation better.

Avoid Disinheritance

Having an estate plan is important to make sure your loved ones receive the inheritance you wish to leave. If you do not have an estate plan, members of your blended family may be disinherited when you pass away. Estates with no Last Will and Testament must abide by state intestacy laws to determine heirs-at-law. If you are part of a blended family, there is a good chance some of your loved ones may not be your heir- by-law.

Once you have an estate plan in place, make sure it is comprehensive enough to protect the inheritance of your spouse and children. If you have a Will that leaves your entire estate to your spouse and he or she is not the biological parent of your children, your children may be disinherited. If you pass away first, your spouse will choose the future inheritors of your estate. With an advanced estate plan, you can create a special arrangement to safeguard your children’s inheritance.

Assist Probate

Through features such as Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts, an advanced estate plan may help your blended family speed up or avoid the process of probate. If you use a basic estate plan with a Last Will and Testament, probate may take more time as blended families offer complicated family situations to deal with in the inheritance process.

Provide Flexibility

Many advanced planning devices, including Trusts, offer flexibility in the estate planning process. You can tailor a plan to fit the needs of every member of your blended family. A Last Will and Testament offers limited flexibility in leaving inheritances, which may affect some members of your family.

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