Remarrying when you have children can be both an adventure and a challenge. If your new spouse has children of their own from a previous relationship, your household is about to become very lively. Combining households will result in a blended family.
Blended families can offer more financial and social support for all the members of the family, but there can also be unique challenges that arise. For example, you may want to leave certain resources for your children when you die. However, your new spouse’s inheritance rights may complicate that plan.
Estate planning before you get married or soon afterward can help you protect your spouse and your children.
Blended families often develop probate conflicts
Your spouse may expect that you provide them with a certain standard of living, and they may expect you to continue providing that for them even after you die. However, if you leave all of your assets directly to your spouse, they may in turn leave that property to their children, effectively disinheriting yours.
You may need to split your estate so that your children receive some of it and your spouse receives some. You may also want to consider adding a trust to your estate plan so that the assets you intend for your children will have the protection and care of a trustee if anything happens to you.
Talking with the family is important as well
Simply adjusting your estate planning documents isn’t enough to avoid probate conflicts after you die. You also need to be honest with your spouse and your kids about how much support or inheritance they can expect to receive from you. Open and honest communication combined with proactive planning can help you minimize conflicts between your children and your spouse after you die.
Revisiting your estate plan before you remarry can help set your entire blended family up for better relationships.