Love the Second Time Around Counts. So Does A Sound Estate Plan That Protects Your Kids

Love is lovelier the second time around, or so Frank Sinatra crooned. Old Blue Eyes knew what he was talking about, but ask an estate attorney or two and they’ll agree that second loves and the blended families that may result merit special consideration when it comes to estate planning.

According to Pew Research Center, 40 percent of new marriages include at least one person who was previously married. And 20 percent of weddings feature two people who have both been married before. These statistics breed yet another phenomenon. Blended families. These families, in which one or both spouses have children from a prior marriage, are on the rise, and they’re complicated. When it comes to estate planning, blended families and the complex relationships they involve have thrown the traditional family, in which the children are children of both spouses, a curve ball.

Blended families, new estate planning issues

Today’s changing family dynamics from divorce, midlife remarriage, domestic partnerships, etc. have brought additional challenges to estate planning. While there’s no such thing as a “simple” or “traditional” Will, poses unique considerations. In a Will for a traditional family, the issues are pretty clear cut. Most assets are left to the surviving spouse. Upon the death of the surviving spouse, the remaining assets go to the couple’s common children.

But using the same distribution strategy for a blended family may have negative consequences for your kids from a previous marriage. (more…)