Upon remarrying, you may not only be gaining a new spouse, but you may also be welcoming stepchildren, stepgrandchildren, and even new pets. This is not to mention the children from your previous marriage that will be blended into this family. Nonetheless, all of these individuals may be potential beneficiaries that you must incorporate into an updated estate plan. Read on to discover how estate planning should be coordinated amongst a blended family and how a seasoned New York City estate planning attorney at Zimmet Law Group, P.A. can help you navigate this complex process.
What happens if I do not update my estate plan upon remarrying?
It is a rule of thumb that you should revisit your estate plan upon experiencing any major life event, such as remarrying. This is because the instructions you left behind in your original estate planning documents are likely no longer clear. For example, your original will may assign your former spouse as the main beneficiary of your assets, which is no longer relevant.
So, if your estate plan is outdated, it will probably end up in probate court upon your passing. Probate court is an extensive and expensive process, and likely nobody will be pleased with its result. That is, it will likely cause disputes amongst the many members of your blended family.
How should estate planning be coordinated in a blended family?
You may think it is easy enough to leave your entire estate to your new spouse, and that they will distribute your assets amongst your blended family accordingly. However, a hasty resolution such as this may not be in your best interest. This is in case your spouse takes the liberty to give a majority of your assets to your stepchildren and stepgrandchildren; this is all while your children and grandchildren from your previous marriage may not receive a sufficient amount of financial aid to support their specific needs.
This is all to say that you must outline detailed terms and conditions within your estate plan that disclose your exact wishes for how your assets should be handled. Examples are as follows:
- Designate a professional fiduciary to be the trustee of your estate rather than a biased individual within your blended family.
- Designate your life insurance and retirement funds to go to your new spouse and your other comparable assets to your blended family members.
- Designate certain assets to your new spouse while they are still living and then allow your blended family members to equally inherit them upon your spouse’s passing.
Though this may seem like a lot of work upfront, this may just be the only way to ensure that each member of your blended family is fairly taken care of. This may ultimately leave little to no room for conflict in the long run.
Regarding your estate planning, there is no time like the present to get started. So please reach out to a competent New York City estate planning attorney from Zimmet Law Group, P.A. at your earliest possible convenience.