Tips For Dealing With Estate Planning For Your Blended Family

With some families experiencing multiple divorces and other unique situations, it isn't unusual for blended families to cross three or more households. If you are part of a blended family, it is particularly important to be attentive to your estate planning and asset protection. An estate plan may be the best way for you to ensure that the loved ones closest to you receive the things you've intended them to have no matter which part of your family they belong to. Here are a few things you should consider when you're looking to protect your assets and ensure their proper handling after your death.

Determining the Benefits of Spousal Agreements for Remarriage

If you're thinking about getting remarried, this is the time to start taking the first steps toward protecting the assets you've set aside for the children of your first marriage. Before you get married, talk with your significant other about the potential for signing a prenuptial agreement. This provides a legal document to define what you are bringing into the marriage that your new spouse has no financial claim on. It is a good way to secure those assets that you want to give to your children. If you're already remarried, don't think that it's too late. A post-nuptial agreement will accomplish the same goal, and it's designed to be drafted and signed after the marriage has taken place.

Considering the Neutrality of Your Trustee

When you're part of a blended family, it is especially important to choose someone neutral to act as your trustee. He or she will be responsible for ensuring that everything is distributed according to your requests, so you need someone that you can rely on. This ensures that there is no preferential treatment for either side of your family.

Consider your trustee carefully to be sure that you find someone who will approach the process with confidence and do things the way that you request. This will help to reduce the risk of bickering between the households about what your children from either marriage feel that they are entitled to. It also protects your kids from the risk that your current spouse may try to place claim on something that they don't have any legal rights to have.

Ensuring the Identification of Your Beneficiaries

The more information you can put into writing, the less room there will be for anyone to contest your plans. Work with your estate planning attorney to draft all of the necessary legal documents identifying each of your beneficiaries and exactly what you intend to give to them. Putting all of this information in writing along with a clear limitation that prohibits any beneficiary changes without your consent ensures that your children receive what you've intended them to. Your new spouse won't be able to disinherit your children or make any changes if you're incapacitated, so your wishes will be carried out the way that you've defined them.

Blended families can be rewarding, but also need to be handled with care in terms of your estate planning. Well-meaning new spouses may inadvertently make a change that leaves one of your children feeling slighted or hurt. Prevent any misunderstandings with these tips and the help of an estate planning attorney, like Cadwallader Law Offices.