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Blended families in have unique estate planning needs

Families in Moorestown these days take all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, even after people are married and have children, they still divorce, but then later remarry someone with children as well. While this may make some practicalities, such as holidays and weddings more complex, another area in which these blended families can result in complexities is estate planning.

First, blended family should update their beneficiaries on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. Make sure that the current spouse, rather than the ex, is the beneficiary on the account. In addition, a person may want their children from their first marriage listed on these types of accounts as equal contingent beneficiaries. This is important as these beneficiary designations trump what a person may have written in their will.

In addition, when it comes to second marriages, a prenuptial agreement may help, which can be written to allow each spouse to keep their assets separate. This allows parents to pass property to their children from a previous marriage. If this is the case, however, it should be reflected not just in the prenup, but also in any other estate planning documents.

Another estate-planning document that could come in handy for blended families is a living trust. A living trust can be constructed in a way that, once the creator of the trust dies, the person's surviving spouse can be set up with income for the rest of their life. And, once they pass away, the children from a previous marriage can inherit what is left.

Moreover, a person may want to make sure they select an appropriate individual as their successor trustee, who will be in charge of managing the trust once the person who created the trust passes away. Sometimes, it is best to name a third party in this role, such as an attorney, as they do not have a stake in the trust.

In the end, estate planning is important to everyone, no matter the family situation. Through estate planning, a person can make sure that their estates are handled in their preferred manner after their death.

Source: Sand Springs Leader, "Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families," T Casey Loper, Dec. 27, 2016,

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