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Estate planning for blended families

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Blended families are becoming increasingly common, and with them comes the need for thoughtful estate planning. Virginia’s law might not automatically align with your desires for your loved ones, especially if it involves children from previous marriages.

Six key points to consider for blended families

If you want to create an estate plan for your blended family, there are points to consider:

  • Intestacy: Dying without a will (intestacy) in Virginia means the state decides the distribution of your assets. This could lead to unintended consequences for your blended family. A will allows you to state your wishes clearly.
  • Spouse vs. children: Virginia law prioritizes surviving spouses. However, a will or trust may come in handy if you want to ensure your biological children receive a portion of your estate.
  • Stepchildren’s rights: Stepchildren do not inherit unless adopted. You may specify in your will whether you want to include them.
  • Marital and family trusts: Consider trusts to manage your assets. A marital trust allows your spouse to benefit during their lifetime, with the remaining assets going to your biological children. A family trust offers more control over how and when inheritances are distributed.
  • Beneficiary designations: Review beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance policies to ensure they go to the properly designated people.
  • Open communication: Discuss your estate plan with your spouse and children. Transparency avoids confusion and resentment later.

Estate planning for blended families can be complex, but creating a comprehensive plan can provide peace of mind and guarantee the fulfillment of your wishes after you are gone.

Preparing for unexpected changes

In addition to the key points mentioned earlier, reviewing and updating your estate plan regularly is essential, especially after significant life events such as marriages, divorces, births or deaths.

Careful consideration and a deep understanding of potential challenges are crucial for estate planning for blended families. Because of its complex nature, having a legal professional by your side may help you better comprehend everything you need about proper estate planning, providing security for you and your blended family unit.

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