McCoy Fatula, APCMcCoy
Fatula
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Estate planning ideas for second marriages and step-children

Modern family life is often a complicated affair, especially for blended families. California couples entering marriage who already have children from previous relationships often face numerous challenges regarding various aspects of their new lifestyles. In addition to decisions regarding name changes and whether a step-parent will adopt a new spouse's children, estate planning issues may also arise concerning beneficiaries and other related matters.

One way to clarify estate plan documents is to update beneficiary designations. Such updates may be implemented on insurance policies, as well as bank accounts. This is often a viable option for someone who wants children from an earlier relationship to inherit certain assets, while specifying in a will that a new spouse is to inherit other assets.

Many people who wish to avoid a lengthy and often costly probate process create trusts and appoint professional trustees. This is often a valid means for ensuring that a spouse continues to receive income after an estate owner's death. A third party trustee is typically recommended to prevent problematic issues from arising between a new spouse and a former spouse, or children and a step-parent.

Any California couple who has not yet entered a new marriage and blended family may consider a prenuptial agreement as a means to help simplify the estate planning process and prevent disputes among blended family members when the time comes to administer the estate. A probate and estate administration attorney can provide guidance regarding these and other issues pertaining to blended families and estate plans. A thorough plan that is kept updated is an easy way to protect one's assets and provide instructions for the future distribution of the same.

Source: journal-advocate.com, "Estate planning tips for blended families", Ann Bowey, Dec. 20, 2016

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