Blended families are presented with many different challenges in addition to the usual challenges that families face. Apart from ensuring the finances are stable and that everyone is living comfortably, extra emotional considerations are to be made, making ensuring everything is done right quite tough. While the concept of blended families may sound simple, it is quite complex to get right, and many potential pitfalls will put the family in peril.
That said, when it comes to estate planning for blended families, there are even more challenges to overcome. To ensure you’re planning properly, here are some tips to help you get it right the first time around:
1. Set Up a Trust
Trusts are generally used to aid in distributing assets, and this also applies to remarried couples. If you do not yet have a trust made, it is vital that you set one up right away. With a trust, you ensure that, if you or your spouse pass, the remainder of the trust (also referred to as capital) will either go to the surviving spouse or the children. This ensures that should anything happen to you or your partner, the family can continue living a life without being financially unstable.
2. Don’t Forget About Prenups
Prenups, short for prenuptial agreements or a marriage contract, are tools many people tend to underutilize. People automatically think that prenups are a bad thing to have simply because it makes marriage seem a little more business-like than an actual relationship. However, they’re essential to have to protect you and your loved ones. A prenup ensures that assets are protected, that the children, whether from the current or previous relationship, can benefit the children. Keep in mind, however, that prenups aren’t guaranteed. Nothing in the prenup or contract will guarantee what happens to an asset when a spouse passes away without a will made.
3. Update Your Estate Documents
Whenever you are trying to update your estate plans, you will also need to reflect the changes on your estate documents. This is especially the case when you are trying to change your familial status, as it involves changing your insurance, workplace pension, and more. If you do not update your documents, chances are that the will might be revoked. In other words, changing your familial status will automatically mean that the will is no longer valid if the documents also do not reflect the change. As such, always be mindful with updating your estate documents, ensuring everything reflects your current situation.
It can be a lot of work today when doing estate planning for a blended family, but it is work that must be done. If you are struggling to figure out what should or should not go into your will, we highly recommend reaching out to lawyers with expertise in creating wills for blended families. They can ensure that your will is drafted properly to ensure that in the case of your passing, everything that you want to happen will occur. With their help, custom wills can be made to reflect your specific wishes and ensure everything your family will need is met.
Dreyer Davison Lawyers LLP are expert lawyers serving in the best interests of families in the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland. If you are looking for a wills and estates lawyer to help you carry out estate planning for your blended family, reach out to us today.