Unfortunately, when two people join together and say “I do,” reality is that more than half of these unions end up in divorce. And, of these failed unions, seventy-five percent of the partners end up remarrying. These new unions are then combined with earlier unions involving children, thus, a blended family is formed.
Estate planning is vital when the family structure is blended. The potential for conflict can be so great; however, some families avoid the subject until it’s too late causing division of families and hurt feelings.
Each spouse must put forth in writing how their respective assets should be distributed, or the law will make assumptions that could seriously conflict with their wishes. And don’t assume that money is the only asset to be given away. One must consider where the non-titled assets (stuff) should go. For instance, family heirlooms, furnishings, jewelry, guns, etc. The stuff can cause a riff between families, but, even more so in a blended family situation.
Have you updated your insurance policies and investment accounts after a divorce? You probably would roll over in your grave if these assets inadvertently went to your ex-spouse, right?
During later years, remarriage may cause more sensitivity concerning disposition of your property brought to the union. If you live in a community property state, like Arizona, commingling of one’s assets after marriage can happen quite easily, thus, making the assets owned one-half by each spouse. This can be an issue if Medicaid funding is necessary to pay for long term care, because the government requires spending down of assets held by both spouses in order for either one to be eligible.
Proper estate planning now will ensure both spouse’s intentions and goals for their respective families will be met. Please see one of our experienced estate planning attorneys to review your blended family situation and avoid unnecessary conflict.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Andrea Claus
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.