From complicated emotional considerations to negotiating the physical space inside a home where everyone will reside, blending two families together can prove to be a challenging balancing act. But when we talk about “yours, mine, and ours,” this can take on a whole new meaning when it comes to finances and estate planning.
As the trusted elder care lawyer servicing Chester County, PA, I understand the financial difficulties that a blended family can face. And if they’re not handled properly, it can lead to mistrust, discord, and suspicion among family members. However, by following some guidelines and adhering to advanced asset protection planning strategies, Slutsky Elder Law can successfully plan your estate while maintaining crucial family harmony. Let’s take a look at how.
Create a Comprehensive Will or Trust
For most blended family estate planning cases, a simple, cookie-cutter will won’t make sense. Not only does it leave open the possibility that biological children can be cut out of the will down the line, but they could, in theory, give your assets to whomever they want — perhaps a new spouse. Instead, consider setting up a trust. This can be an ideal way to provide for your spouse without leaving out your kids. When the spouse passes away, the remainder of the money in the trust can go to your children.
Make a Living Will and Decide on Powers of Attorney
Explaining your wishes if you become terminally ill should be a part of any complete estate plan. While people typically name their spouse as their power of attorney, it can lead to hurt feelings, arguments, and worse in a blended family. To prevent any surprises and other issues, it’s best to select someone level-headed to carry out your wishes and have a discussion to let your entire family know about your plans in advance.
Choose a Trustworthy Financial Decision Maker
You’ll want to have the peace of mind that someone is looking out for the best financial interests of your spouse and your family when you’re gone. This means making sound decisions regarding your assets and how they are distributed. Carefully selecting this advisor is critical to avoid tension among your family members and can help set them up for long-term financial success.
It’s critical to remember that not every blended family can be like “The Brady Bunch.” In real life, blended families aren’t always close and won’t necessarily share the same goals and values. This means that personal conflicts among family members, especially between the surviving spouse and children, can quickly arise. However, in this instance, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
By properly planning ahead and engaging in open and frank discussions, blended families can prepare for the future and allow them, their spouses, and their children the confidence that these financial manners will be handled with all parties’ best interests in mind.
For more information on how to handle a blended family’s assets, will, and long-term care strategies, contact Slutsky Elder Law, the top-rated estate administration lawyer serving Montgomery County, PA. Call them today at (610) 940-0650.