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Got a Stepfamily? Don’t Forget Them in Your Estate Plan

Today’s families need the support of dedicated and knowledgeable estate planning lawyers. With second or third marriages and blended families, estate planning calls upon professionals to help design unique and meaningful plans based on the structure of the family in question. 

A good estate plan can help to avoid conflicts when you have children from previous marriages. Whether you intend to include those children in your estate plan or not, it’s important to discuss your family dynamics and goals with a lawyer.

One of the most complex situations in estate planning is when two parties who have recently marriage each have children from previous marriages. Since most married couples will leave everything to their new spouse, this means that children from a prior marriage might not have inheritance rights. A stepparent receiving all of the assets from their partner might choose instead to divide these assets among their own children or children from the most recent marriage. 

Thankfully, there are estate planning tools at your disposal that help to ensure your estate plan reflects your individual concerns. These can include:

  • Using a trust that helps to support the spouse during the remainder of his/her lifetime, after which point the assets will transfer to the children
  • Leaving something directly to your children in the will
  • Purchasing life insurance and listing your children as beneficiaries
  • Divide up your family heirlooms and document these plans in your estate documents before something happens to you

If you’re struggling with whether or not your past estate planning documents can be amended or whether you need a lawyer to draft new ones, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer about the process and to schedule a time to sit down and discuss these concerns directly.

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