Estate Planning for Blended Families
Estate planning is more complex for blended families, but it is also essential to ensure all children benefit from the assets their parents worked hard for and intended to pass down to them. Because of the factors that play into this type of estate planning, you will want to talk to a legal team that is familiar with writing rule books for blended families and helping them build complex estate plans that meet their unique needs.
At Chesapeake Wills and Trusts, our team knows there is no such thing as a “typical” family. For this reason, we do not draw up a standard estate plan for each client. We get to know you and your situation and recommend the estate planning tools that will best meet your needs. We walk you through the process and give you peace of mind about your children’s future.
Understanding Why Blended Family Estate Plans Are So Complex
Dynamics in a blended family can be complicated, and this carries over into estate planning. A simple plan that passes everything to your spouse or splits it evenly between your children and your spouse’s children may not offer the protection you want for your own children if you are the first partner to pass away.
Blended families, one where each spouse has children prior to their marriage, can create inheritance difficulties and potential conflicts between the spouses. The question which often arises is how I protect children from a prior relationship while still providing for my spouse after my death.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all estate plan for a blended family. We will sit down with your family and discuss your priorities and needs and create a plan that addresses them.
Common Issues with Estate Planning for Blended Families
All too often, one spouse trusts the other to take care of their children through their inheritance if they are the first spouse to die. They use simple estate planning tools to pass their assets to the other spouse when they pass away.
The hope would be that the surviving spouse would split their assets equally among both his and her children in their will or other estate plan. However, this does not always happen. In this scenario, the surviving spouse retains control of both partners’ assets. This allows them to give the house, prized collections, retirement accounts, and even family heirlooms to whomever they want.
They could leave it all — including the assets they inherited from their spouse — to their own kids and ignore their stepchildren altogether.
We Offer Solutions to Avoid Conflict and Ensure Inheritance
At Chesapeake Wills and Trusts, we offer advanced estate planning that goes far beyond leaving your assets to your spouse or children. We can help you put a trust in place that benefits your children, no matter if you die before or after your spouse.
We can help you create a plan that ensures your children receive family heirlooms, as well as the nest egg you built for them. At the same time, we can ensure your spouse receives death benefits through a life insurance policy or other assets to maintain the standard of living they currently have.
This type of plan often relies on:
We can also help you plan for long-term care costs, including possibly putting a plan in place to protect many of your assets from Medicaid spend down. This can help reserve your assets for your children, instead of spending them on nursing home care.
No matter how complex your estate planning seems, we can offer the tools and guidance on how to make it work. Before you decide what you want to do is impossible, talk to us and let us explain your options.
Reach Out to a Maryland Estate Planning Attorney About Your Blended Family Today
The Maryland estate planning team from Chesapeake Wills and Trusts can help you put an estate plan in place that is as unique as your family. We know the dynamics in a blended family can be complex, and we want to ensure you have peace of mind when it comes to who will support both your children and your spouse after you pass away.
Let us review your situation and offer you a comprehensive, advanced estate plan that takes advantage of estate law to protect your children after you pass away. Call Chesapeake Wills and Trusts today at 410-590-1900 to schedule a time to talk to one of our estate planning lawyers.