Blended families often have unique estate planning issues that should be carefully considered when creating a plan. The priorities of ensuring that each spouse has sufficient assets to live on while also providing for children from previous relationships and children of the marriage must all be balanced if those are your goals. While a basic estate plan may serve several useful purposes, it may not be sufficient for fully meeting your needs. Fortunately, an Orange County estate planning lawyer can help.
Why should you consider creating a customized living trust rather than relying on basic wills if you have a blended family? The following are several common reasons:
- Even if the wills of both spouses mirror each other, each spouse is free to change his or her will at any time. As a result, after one spouse dies, the other could disinherit the child from the deceased’s spouse’s previous relationship.
- If you create wills that do not mirror each other, you will have to engage in a confusing and often stressful process of decided which assets belong to which spouse. Depending on who is deemed the “owner” of each item of property, that spouse would decide who the beneficiary is upon his or her passing.
- Pre-nuptial agreements or state laws may dictate ownership of some or all property.
- There is no requirement that one spouse notify the other if he or she changes his will. Your spouse could remove you or your children from his or her inheritance without needing your permission or having to inform you of the change.
- Wills are not as flexible as California living trusts, which can adapt for many life circumstances that could occur following your passing.
To learn more about creating the right estate plan for your family, contact the experienced and knowledgeable Orange County estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC. Call our office today at (714) 459-5481 for a consultation.