Palm Springs Law Blog

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Do Basic Wills Work for Blended Families?

It’s no secret that having a comprehensive estate plan is in the best interest of you and your family. Wills in particular are strongly encouraged by legal professionals. But for blended families, are standard Wills still in their best interest?

This is an important question for about 25 percent of the U.S. population who, according to the Pew Research Center, are remarried. Blended families commonly face estate-planning issues that are unique to traditional families. It’s extremely important that these particular issues are taken into consideration before creating your estate plan.

Individuals from blended families who wish to leave their estate to their family when they pass may also have to consider children from previous relationships and children of the marriage as well as the other spouse. A basic Will may not be capable of meeting your specific needs.

You May Want to Consider a Trust

Individuals from blended families who are looking to create an estate plan may wish to consider a customized living trust instead of depending upon a basic Will. With a trust, there may be tax advantages, financial savings without probate, and no delay. Other reasons to consider a trust include:

  • A spouse is able to change his or her Will at any time and therefore many choose not to include any assets to a child from the deceased individual’s previous relationship.
  • If two spouses create Wills that are not identical, you may have a long road ahead in attempting to figure out which assets actually belong to each spouse.
  • Sometimes state laws or pre-nuptial agreements dictate who is to receive which property.
  • One spouse may choose to change his or her Will and remove you or your children from a previous relationship without any obligation to inform you of the changes.
  • Living trusts in California are known to be more flexible than Wills in that they are able to be adapted to fit a variety of situations that may happen after you have passed.

Don’t Forget!

Start by making a list of your individual assets and your community assets as well as whom you want to receive what – under which circumstances. For instance, your choices may differ if your spouse passes before you. While each spouse will need his or her own Will, it’s best for him or her to work together in order to meet shared goals.

You’ll also want to be sure that you have updated your beneficiary designations. When it comes to your bank accounts, insurance policy, and retirement assets, you may have chosen a beneficiary. If you have remarried, you’ll want to be sure that your beneficiary designations have been updated to either an older child or your new spouse.

Heritage Legal, PC Helps Those in California to with Their Comprehensive Estate Planning Needs

To ensure that you and your loved ones are protected when you pass and that your assets go to the individuals you desire, it is wise to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced California estate planning attorney. They can work to ensure that your wishes will be carried out in the manner in which you desire.

At Heritage Legal, PC, we understand the importance of protecting the very things that you care about the most. We can help you to establish a comprehensive estate plan that meets your needs and the needs of your family. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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