Planning For Blended Families
Blended families can involve children from a prior marriage as well as joint children, sometimes joking referred to as "his, hers and theirs.”
Most parents want to ensure that their assets will pass to their children, not their stepchildren. However, absent good estate planning, there is no guarantee that their children will inherit their assets. In fact, if the couple creates common "I love you” wills such that their assets pass to the survivor of them, there is a significant likelihood their children will be totally disinherited.
This is because all of their assets will pass to the surviving spouse to do with as he or she pleases. More often than not this means excluding the stepchildren, who then receive nothing.
The fact that Americans are living longer, and sometimes remarrying much later in life, means that blended family issues come into play there too. Baby boomer children expecting an inheritance may have to wait much longer than expected. But perhaps more difficult, who should pay for the cost of the surviving spouse’s care? Should the stepchildren be forced to use their inheritance to pay for an aging step-parent’s care, particularly after only a short-term marriage? Or should this burden fall on the children?
Other considerations for blended families and second marriages are:
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