If you take a look at society today, you will notice that the so called “modern family” is not what it used to be. Gone are the days where the majority of married couples only had that one marriage during their lifetimes and only having joint children in that one marriage. Whether for good or for bad, times have changed and it has become more and more common to see blended families. These families general come from a second or third marriage for one or both of the partners. As these families are joined together in these marriages, the children of that family are either step-siblings or half-siblings with each other. Every situation and every family is unique. Because each situation is different, every estate plan needs to be carefully tailored to meet the unique needs of each blended family.
I’d like to give some examples of the types of questions you should consider if you are planning for your unique, blended family situation:
- Depending on which one of the spouses dies first, how will the estate be divided?
- Do I and my spouse want to keep our separate property separate and our joint property joint?
- If I pass away first, do I want my surviving spouse to have access to my separate property during the remainder of his/her lifetime?
- If I pass away first, do I want my children to have a say in how my surviving spouse spends the money from my estate?
- Should the surviving spouse be required to get a prenuptial agreement before getting remarried in order to protect the deceased spouses’ assets?
- How will we keep the step-siblings (children) from quarreling over the division of assets, even though everyone gets along great right now?
- Can we choose someone now, during our lifetimes, to help settle disputes amongst beneficiaries after we pass away?
- Can we place restrictions on when and how our children receive their inheritance?
- Will our distribution pattern be different for our joint assets as opposed to our separate assets?
So after all of that, is your head spinning? Estate planning is personal and distinct for each family. I can promise you that those kinds of questions cannot be answered or addressed in an estate plan created over the internet nor by using the various software programs available.
If you find yourself wondering how to answer those questions, please call us today and schedule a free consultation. After all, estate planning is our passion and we’d love to show you how a MH Estate Plan can address all those issues and more.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.