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Estate Planning Considerations for Blended Families

 Posted on May 07, 2020 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneyIt is estimated that approximately 1,300 new stepfamilies are created every day in the United States. While proper estate planning is important for everyone, individuals who have a blended family should take special care to ensure that their estate plans reflect their wishes and provide for beneficiaries.  Whether your family includes stepparents and stepchildren, adopted children, half-siblings, or grandchildren, having a comprehensive estate plan is essential. If you are in a blended family, there are special estate planning considerations that may apply to your situation that you may be unaware of.  

Complications Regarding Remarriages and Children from a Previous Marriage

A large percentage of U.S. adults are on their second or third marriages. If you have remarried and you have children from a previous relationship, you should be aware of the way Illinois intestate succession laws operate. If a person dies without a valid will or other estate planning document, his or her assets are distributed according to state law. In Illinois, the laws of intestate succession would split your estate between your current spouse and your children. Such laws, however, do not specify which of your assets will go to your children. This means that if you want your children from a previous relationship to inherit certain items—including family heirlooms or other things with sentimental value, you will need to create a will or trust to do so.

One major mistake many people make when they get remarried is forgetting to change the primary beneficiary from their previous spouse to their current spouse. If you have remarried but your have children from a past relationship, you may want to consider naming your new spouse and your biological children as primary beneficiaries. This would allow each of these individuals to receive a portion of your estate when you pass away. Another option is to create a revocable trust that assigns assets to your spouse during his or her lifetime but then passes the remaining trust balance to your children upon your spouse’s death.

Create Estate Plans Early and Discuss Them With Your Loved Ones

How your property will be distributed to heirs after you pass away is not exactly a pleasant topic to think about. Because it is uncomfortable and legally complex, many people procrastinate estate planning until the last possible second. However, waiting too long to create your estate plans could mean that you end up with little to no say in how your assets are distributed. It is best to create your estate plans as soon as possible and then update those plans if circumstances change. Once you have determined how your estate will be distributed, talk to your loved ones about what to expect. When family members are informed of your estate planning decisions in advance, they may be less likely to challenge these decisions upon your death.

Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyer

If you have a blended family or are planning to remarry, there are several estate planning concerns that you will need to address. For dependable legal guidance regarding wills, trusts, and other estate planning tools, contact a skilled Lombard estate planning attorney at A. Traub & Associates. Call us at 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation.



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