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Blended families are a wonderful dynamic, as they symbolize the ability of two units to come together as one. However, it’s no secret that this can make estate planning more challenging to navigate. Despite the challenges, you should not be dissuaded from planning your estate, as this is crucial to protecting your assets and beneficiaries. If you are part of a blended family, the following blog explores what you must know about how to navigate some of the complexities that can arise when thinking about the future and how a Washtenaw County estate planning attorney can help with any issues you may have during this process.

What Makes a Family Blended, and What Estate Planning Challenges Can Arise?

A blended family is a familial unit that’s comprised of two parents, who each have children from a previous relationship. These two parties will often marry and have a child of their own. As such, these dynamics often have step- and half-siblings.

The dynamics of a blended family can be challenging, as you may find that children need to adjust to their new roles. For example, the youngest of one parent may no longer be the baby of the family when their parent marries someone with a younger child.

Additionally, issues can arise when estate planning, as it’s easy for beneficiaries to feel slighted by the decisions made in this complex process. Similarly, your spouse may remarry upon your death, and if you do not plan right, they can receive your assets while your children receive nothing.

What Can a Blended Family Do to Properly Plan Their Estate?

One of the most important decisions to make is how you will leave your assets to your loved ones. While most people choose a will, this could have some downsides. As such, you may want to consider leaving your assets in a trust. This means you have a personally appointed individual to distribute assets according to your wishes after your passing. When you leave assets in a will, your minor children may end up with large sums of money they are not mature enough to handle.  However, leaving the funds in a trust ensures they will receive the funds when they are old enough.

Additionally, it’s essential for both spouses to update their estate plans after they get married. Unfortunately, many do not do this, which can be trouble for your beneficiaries, as it may not leave assets for all of your children, including your spouse’s little ones.

Why Is It Important to Enlist the Help of an Attorney?

Estate planning is challenging enough without taking different family dynamics into consideration. As such, it’s imperative to understand the steps you must take to protect your assets and your loved ones. This starts with letting an experienced estate planning attorney handle the bulk of the planning.

There are many files, deadlines, and options to juggle when planning an estate, and you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. As such, it’s in your best interest to consult an attorney to guide you during this challenging time to provide peace of mind that you’ve taken the necessary steps to shield your blended family. Contact Collis, Griffor & Hendra today to discuss the details of your circumstances.

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