Change happens rapidly. You divorce the person you thought you would live with for the rest of your life. Instead, you find a new partner with their own children. When more individuals become involved in your life, planning for the future tends to become more complicated. As blended families become more and more common, they may pose a challenge when determining your estate plans. But with an experienced estate planning attorney by your side, the risk of complications will be diminished.
The Nashville estate planning attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC have extensive experience preparing complex estates for clients across Middle Tennessee. We’ll make sure that your wishes are carried out and the property and assets go to who you intend to receive them. If you need legal assistance in an estate planning matter involving a second marriage, contact our office today to find out more about our services.
The Difficulties of Estate Planning for Blended Families
With divorce becoming more and more common these days, blended families are not a foreign concept. According to The Atlantic, only one-third of American households are traditional two-parent, nuclear families.
With so many different types of families, there is some confusion when it’s time to create a will or a trust. Not only would you want to leave an inheritance to your current spouse, but also your children, your stepchildren, and perhaps your ex-spouse as well. There is also the risk of disinheriting your children by accident, delays in your children receiving the inheritance, and disputes arising over the division of property. Such complexities are why it is crucial to speak to an experienced estate planning attorney who handles these types of estates on a regular basis.
How Estate Planning Can Help
Estate planning for blended families is the best way to protect your assets after you are gone. By establishing the appropriate trust or will, this will ensure that the intended beneficiaries receive the assets that a grantor wishes to bestow. One example of protecting your assets is setting up a trust, so you know for sure that your children will receive the assets and property you intend on leaving them. Otherwise, without a trust, your current spouse may remarry, and then the new spouse could acquire all the assets. Our very own Attorney David Heller wrote a great blog post on dividing your assets in a second marriage, that’s choked full of information.
Estate planning for blended families also must deal with an individual’s past, especially if you are under obligation for spousal or child support payments. Having an open and honest conversation with a current spouse regarding these types of responsibilities is essential, and in some instances, executing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may solve some of the issues that could arise. You should also make sure an existing power of attorney or living will that gives decision-making power to a former spouse may be updated and reviewed as well.
Utilizing Estate Planning Tactics
Being open and honest with your new spouse is of the utmost importance. But there are also strategies you can employ to ensure you are looking out for their interest, and the interest of your children from the first marriage.
You may want to consider:
Prenuptial agreements: A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by a couple before marriage. These agreements contain provisions regarding each spouse’s rights and obligations as well as serve as a useful tool when it comes to ensuring your children get your assets in the way you decide fitting.
Trusts: Trusts are often a balancing act and one that many individuals prefer. A trust can be used to support the spouse who is living. Then, when he or she passes, the remaining assets of the trust go to the children.
Beneficiary Designations: Beneficiary designations allow for the deceased to plan for the future of the blended family by designating with assets go to whom once they pass.
These are not the only options available which is why you need the guidance of a trusted Tennessee family law firm for your blended family estate planning needs.
Being a part of a blended family may make planning for the future more complicated. The Nashville lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard offer a wide array of legal services, ranging from establishing trusts and wills to handling family law matters.
Don’t leave these decisions to the last minute. Now is the time to plan for your future and the future of your blended family. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, our estate planning lawyers will guide you through the process with the compassion needed. With years of experience in estate planning and administration, we know how to protect your assets and prepare for the unknown. Contact us today for more information and to get started on planning for the future.