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Financial planning for blended families

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2021 | Blog, Estate Planning |

Blending two families into one can be a challenging yet rewarding process. In the midst of trying to ensure that each person feels loved and connected, parents shouldn’t forget about estate planning that will protect each member of the very diverse family. In Shreveport, Louisiana, this process usually involves choosing guardians, an executor and an estate planning attorney.

What is a blended family?

Typically, blended families consist of two parents who have children from previous relationships before marriage. A blended family can also be made up of half-siblings, adopted siblings, foster children and even extended relatives who have been welcomed into the home. While you may consider the niece you have raised to be like your own daughter, only through proper estate planning can you ensure that she will get part of the inheritance when you pass.

How will your family situation make estate planning challenging?

When a person dies, their money traditionally goes to their surviving spouse, who then leaves the funds to their shared children. But when stepchildren are part of the process, things can get tricky. Only by careful planning can you ensure that each child will get what they deserve from their parents.

What can blended families do?

There are many options for blended families. An attorney may help you choose the one of the following that is right for your specific situation:

  • Family trusts are one option where all the remaining money is put into a trust after the death of the first parent, and the surviving spouse is then in charge of determining how the money will be divided among the children.
  • A marital trust puts all the money in the survivor’s care but already has a plan in place for how the funds will be divided after the second parent dies.
  • An outright ownership means that the surviving spouse gets all the money and is in total control of it.
  • An immediate bequest is an actual will where each parent determines what will be left to whom after they pass away.

Through the help of careful estate planning, you can ensure that all your children are treated fairly after your death. An attorney may help you learn more about the different types of estate planning and which will best suit your specific family situation.