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Estate planning for blended families

On Behalf of | May 6, 2022 | Estate Planning & Probate |

In many instances, when a person remarries, they treat their spouse’s children as their own. However, it’s important to make sure that stepchildren are included in the estate planning process if you want them to benefit from your assets when you pass away. If you’re a New Jersey resident, here are some estate planning tips to consider for your blended family.

Changing beneficiaries

One of the most common estate planning mistakes people make is not changing or editing their beneficiaries. In some instances, a person’s first spouse could still be the beneficiary of a retirement or pension account, which means the person’s current spouse would not receive benefits.

Getting remarried can also serve as a time to review other legal documents such as wills or retirement plans. Ensure that your new spouse is the beneficiary on your accounts, and consider adding your stepchildren as beneficiaries along with your biological children. This can reduce disputes in the future and lets everyone in your blended family know what they’re entitled to.

Editing your will

Changing your financial documents will keep you from leaving more benefits to your ex-spouse than you intended, but you’ll also need to make changes to your will. Your will dictates who gets what when it comes to most of your assets. When you go through the estate planning process, make sure your home, bank accounts, and valuable items will go to the people you prefer.

Usually, if you’re remarried, you may decide that your new spouse will receive all of your assets. Once the new spouse passes away, the assets would be divided among all surviving children. However, it is best that you are as specific as possible when it comes to leaving your assets behind so that all of your family members can see that your wishes were carried out. Determining who will receive what as far in advance as possible and speaking to your blended family about your wishes can also expedite the estate planning process.