BLENDED FAMILIES AND SUBSEQUENT MARRIAGES
Is Estate Planning Different for Blended Families?
Yes, but that isn't at bad thing. Usually each spouse wants to make sure their hard-earned assets are passed to their own legal children. When there are children of each spouse, and even shared children, it is best to have an Estate Plan with a Revocable Living Trust. More specifically, Dual Revocable Living Trusts.
How Does This Change the Estate Plan?
Generally if you are a blended family where you have children from prior relationships, even if you have shared children also, it is best to have separate revocable living trusts. This way, it is easier to establish how each spouse's assets should be handled.
Some families choose to treat all children the same, no matter which spouse is the legal parent. Even in this case, it is still best to have separate trusts so any inheritance - from either spouse's family - would pass to the correct child or children. That way grandparents can still pass things to their children (you) without worrying that their assets could pass to someone other than their grandchild.
It may seem more complicated to have separate trusts, but it actually makes things simpler in the long run if you have the instructions set out clearly for each spouse's children.
What Else Do I Need?
Melanie believes it is only responsible to give the most complete Estate Plan possible, while still taking into account the desires of the client. So, Melanie provides the following documents to every client, at no additional charge:
Durable Power of Attorney - This details who will make your financial decisions if you are incapacitated.
Medical Power of Attorney - This details who will make your medical decisions if you are incapacitated.
Living Will - This specifies your wishes as to your medical care if you are in a permanent vegetative state with no expectation of regaining cognitive function.