Having a blended family adds a layer of complexity to estate planning; however, it’s worth the effort because estate planning can protect both your children, from a previous relationship, and your second (or third) spouse.
Your options depend upon the size of your estate, your beneficiaries’ needs, your goals, and whether you are insurable. Often, life insurance is utilized, in a blended family situation, to make sure all needs are met.
The ideal way to set up your estate plan is to have both your spouse and your children, especially those from another relationship, inherit immediately at your death. Set up separate trusts for each of them.
Making your children wait until your spouse dies to inherit causes problems in the family relationships, creating a constant tug-of-war over how assets are distributed and invested. If your spouse has control, your children from another relationship may inherit nothing.
Your children, from another relationship, will also inherit nothing if you own your assets jointly and you die first. Your spouse will, by operation of law, automatically inherit the jointly owned assets. At his or her death, he/she will have the right to pass them to his/her children, not yours.
Be sure to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to protect and provide for both your spouse and your children. Your next step is to call our office at 858-792-5988 for a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.