If you have children and then marry someone else who also has children from a previous relationship, you’ve created a blended family. This can be a beautiful thing, a wonderful way for families to expand and children to get to have new sibling relationships.
But it can also be very complicated. For this reason, you need to make sure that you are very intentional with your estate planning to set everything up in advance. Leave your children the guiding documents that they will need.
Removing your former spouse
To start with, you want to make sure that you remove your former spouse from any of your estate planning documents that you have on file. You’ll also want to add your new spouse to these documents. Simply revamping them should be one of the first things that you do.
Considering all children
You also need to consider how all of the children in this relationship should receive your assets. If you had documents from your previous relationship, none of your stepchildren are listed. It’s up to you to decide how you want to handle this, but it’s definitely something you should address. This is especially true with sentimental items that may have different values for different people.
Reducing the odds of a dispute
Making an estate plan can also make disputes less likely. It helps your children and stepchildren understand what your intent is. These two groups will sometimes find themselves at odds after a parent passes away, so having this instruction can help smooth things out for them.
For all of these reasons and more, be sure you understand the exact steps to take to create your estate plan.