Many couples find their perfect match the second time around at marriage, and this can mean bringing together kids from different marriages. It’s a happy ending, but it does mean that your estate plan needs to be a little more complex in order to ensure dependents are correctly provided for – even if everyone involved has the best possible intentions. Here’s some insight for blended families from a leading estate planning attorney in NJ.
It sounds like a slightly obvious comment, but “life happens” really is a fundamental concept behind successful estate planning, and it’s an important one for blended families. For example, if a spouse dies and then the remaining spouse remarries, possibly having children with the new spouse, how can you ensure that the children the first spouse brought into the marriage are cared for? It’s not about whether the new spouse may keep everything for their biological children (although this sadly is a scenario that occurs), it’s about ensuring peace of mind for both spouses that no matter what happens, all the children from both sides are provided for as they deserve.
3 Tips for Successful Estate Planning
1. Go Beyond a Simple Last Will and Testament:
In complex situations, a simple Will won’t really have the capacity and scope to adequately meet your estate planning needs. For example, a straightforward Will that leaves everything to your spouse means that in the event of you passing, your spouse can not only cut your children off and remarry, but your assets can also be used to support his or her lifestyle, as there’s no legal obligation to provide for your children. You’ll need a more complex, professional Last Will and Testament to cover your needs.
2. Create a Trust:
Estate planning attorneys recommend that you consider creating a trust in addition to a Will. Trusts are very flexible and allow you to tailor your estate plan in much more detail and with much more legal power. For example, you can create a trust that leaves your assets to your spouse in the event of your death but, upon the spouse’s death, these assets pass to your children. You can also state that assets go directly to your children at a certain age, are used for certain expenses like education or buying a home, or that a spouse no longer receives any income from the trust in the event that they remarry.
3. Don’t Forget About Healthcare Decisions:
In blended families, it is especially important to decide who gets to make important healthcare decisions in the event that you are unable to. You can name anyone, including your spouse or even an adult child. Devastating medical events can cause rifts in any family, and the last thing you want is a stepparent cutting off access to their spouse’s children under these circumstances.
Effective, Comprehensive Estate Planning in New Jersey
At Sedita, Campisano, and Campisano, LLC in New Jersey, estate planning attorney Frank Campisano is ready to assist you with all your estate planning needs – whether you need to make a business succession plan, a personal estate plan, Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, a Living trust or to minimize inheritance tax on your estate. He can also assist in the event of Will disputes.
Contact us today and let us deliver expert estate planning advice to take care of all your wishes, whether your needs are big or small. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/