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What does estate planning mean for blended families?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2023 | Estate Planning |

There are some particular things to remember if you’re in your second marriage and working on your estate plan in Minnesota. For those who have a blended family, you have some things that most other people don’t have to worry about in their estate plan. It isn’t guaranteed that you’ll please everyone with your estate planning arrangements, but there are some significant issues that you can avoid if you’re careful.

Decide on beneficiaries

If you’re not proactive in your estate planning, there’s the potential that you’ll accidentally shut your immediate family out of their inheritance. In some cases, you might even leave your ex-partner an unintentional inheritance.

One thing to make sure you do if you’re in a blended family looking over your estate plan is to change your beneficiaries. It’s highly unlikely that you want your first spouse to be listed as a beneficiary on your 401(k), for instance.

If you intend to make your current spouse the beneficiary of every financial account that you have, it’s never a bad time to look them all over. Double-check that the money is going to go to the correct person when the time comes, and don’t leave any of them out. Carefully look over your savings, checking, investment and retirement accounts.

One of the big benefits of making sure you’ve taken this step is that your surviving spouse won’t have to go through probate to inherit the assets, which can be a time-consuming and costly process during a highly emotional time. The same applies to life insurance beneficiaries. If you’ve designated the right person, probate can usually be bypassed.

Everyone doesn’t have to get the same amount

Remember that you don’t have to treat all of your heirs the same. It’s common in a blended family situation for certain inheritors to receive more or less than others. You might want to leave more to the children from your first marriage rather than your new spouse and the children you have together.

When you’re estate planning in a blended family, it’s not just beneficiaries you need to worry about. Remember to look at your whole will and determine who you’re leaving your assets to.