Experienced Attorney Helping Blended Families with Estate Planning in New York
Blended families are quite common. Whether you are divorced and remarried, or you are a widower with a new family, it is important to understand how estate planning differs for your blended family than others.
Estate planning becomes complicated for blended families, which is why it is always best to consult with an attorney. While you might be tempted to file your documents using a DIY service online, keep in mind that these services lack the capacity to address complex issues for blended families.
The stakes are high – after all, you may have two sets of children to whom you need to leave assets. Also, the window for error increases with blended families. You also run the risk of former and current spouses disagreeing, or step- and half-children disagreeing with their inheritances.
These issues are important and should be discussed with your estate planning attorney. Before meeting, you should also ask yourself essential questions to ensure that you’re prepared for the hefty task.
What Questions Do I Need to Ask Myself?
Before meeting with your attorney, there are a few essential questions that you need to ask yourself and answer, including:
- What do you want to happen when you die? Do you want a funeral? Cremation? How will you provide family members funds to take care of your wishes?
- Who can make decisions for you? If you become incapacitated (from injury, illness, or mental decline), you must have a person in mind who will make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf. They do not have to be the same person, but you will need to designate someone responsible enough to handle mature decisions.
- Who takes over for minor children if you pass away? Will this be your current spouse or the children’s natural parent? Will the children get a say in which parent they want to live with?
- How will you provide for your current spouse? Think about how you want to provide for him or her financially. Would you give your spouse decision-making power over the estate’s assets? Or, do you feel that it is best to limit his or her management of the estate?
- Do you and your former spouse share the same ideals? You may need two separate attorneys to draft your estate plan for your current family, as well as your former spouse. This ensures that there is no conflict between the two agreements. Also, think about your willingness to discuss the estate plan with your former spouse. If you are not comfortable discussing it, you may need an attorney to help.
Take Your Answers to an Estate Planning Attorney
Now that you have answers to these essential questions, you must speak with an attorney. An attorney formalizes and structures your answers into a solid estate plan. You must work with an attorney who specializes in not only estate planning, but who has experience with blended families, as well.
While your blended family plan may cost more, it ensures that your current family and children from past marriages or relationships are all protected under the same document.