Blended families often involve conflict.
For example, coordinating Christmas and New Years with a blended family may have felt overwhelming.
Combining families means bringing more people (and personalities) to the mix.
While “more people” can bring more fun, it also can bring more complications.
According to a recent Investment News article titled “Reducing potential family conflicts,” more American families than ever before are blended.
Conflict often arises in blended families with the death of either a parent or step-parent.
This makes estate planning ever more important.
Perhaps this is one of your resolutions for 2020.
So, how do you break the natural inertia and get the plan rolling?
Start with open communication.
Discuss your wishes with your new spouse and your own children.
They may have concerns of their own, as each brings a different perspective.
Listening with empathy can help you diffuse potential conflicts among your heirs.
Their concerns may reveal blind spots in your estate planning.
If you have not yet exchanged vows and remarried, a prenuptial agreement would be wise.
Such an agreement is essential when determining the financial and legal rights of each spouse should the marriage end in divorce or one of the partners die before the other.
This common legal document can help reduce estate battles within your blended family.
A prenuptial agreement is not the only legal tool you should consider.
Talk with your experienced estate planning attorney about creating a revocable living trust.
Not only can this approach avoid probate should you become incapacitated and upon your death, but is provides you with greater control over the private distribution of your assets and resulting legal challenges.
Having a blended family does not mean you will have arguments over your estate, but proper and preemptive estate planning can certainly help.
Reference: Investment News (December 9, 2019) “Reducing potential family conflicts”