How Should You Handle Estate Planning With a Blended Family?

Many residents of Illinois are on their second or third marriage and have blended families. This makes estate planning crucial. Here are some steps you should take when preparing these documents with a blended family.

Make changes to your will

One of the first things you should do to protect your blended family is to update your will. Make all necessary changes to remove your former spouse and include your new spouse and stepchildren. If you neglect to take this step and die unexpectedly, your former spouse would inherit your assets. Your new, blended family would be left in the cold in that scenario.

If you have children from your previous marriage, you will want to protect them to ensure they receive their inheritance if you die before your spouse. After remarriage to someone new, there’s no guarantee that your spouse will agree to leave assets to your children from a prior relationship. Provisions in your will can protect them.

Consider a trust

Another way to protect your blended family is to create a trust to hold assets for them. This is one of the best ways to ensure that your children from your previous marriage get the assets and property you want to leave them. It’s a step that should be taken in conjunction with updating your will.

Update your beneficiary designations

Updating your beneficiary designations is crucial when you remarry. You may have your former spouse named on your life insurance policy, 401(k) or IRA account and other financial accounts. Now is the time to update your beneficiaries so that you can replace your former spouse with your new spouse.

Update your legal directives

Other legal documents that make up your estate plan should be updated as well. For example, if you have powers of attorney and a health care directive and have named your former spouse as your agent, you should immediately remove their name. Replace them with your current spouse or someone else close and trustworthy to handle those matters.

Taking these steps with your estate plan could help protect all members of your family in case the unexpected occurs.